By Nova Safo, CNN
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(CNN) - The meteor that wreaked havoc in Russia last week, shattering windows around a 50-acre area and injuring 1,200 people, was not as big as the asteroids that Dr. Bong Wie of Iowa State University is worried about.
He's researching how to stop one of the 400 asteroids scientists have discovered, which have some chance of crashing into Earth and potentially destroying a city.
Wie has gotten NASA’s attention with a plan that seems right out of the Hollywood blockbuster "Armageddon." He is working on a plan to bury a nuclear bomb into a potentially deadly asteroid and blow it up into tiny pieces:
[1:05] “Our plan is relatively simple. Using a nuclear device and using current spacecraft technology, we will be able to mitigate the impact threat from an asteroid with very short warning time.”
Unlike the movie, Dr. Wie wouldn’t send up a team of oil rig drillers, opting instead for an unmanned satellite on a rocket. The satellite would split into two parts once arriving at the asteroid; the first would burrow a hole and the second would deliver the nuclear bomb.
Wie says he can adapt already-existing technologies developed for space travel and military uses to make his plan work. With a grant from NASA he is now honing his ideas.
Scientists estimate that they have found only about 10 percent of the small- to medium-sized asteroids that can cause regional devastation, and which are the best candidates for Wie’s nuclear plan.
To hear more about Wie’s plan and the potential threat from asteroids, listen to our story above.
For more science news, visit CNN.com/Space.