Bridenstine revealed that after a meteorite exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013 with “30 times the energy of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima,” injuring some 1,500 residents, NASA tracked an even larger object that missed the Earth.
"I wish I could tell you that these events are exceptionally unique, but they are not," Bridenstine said, according to CNN. "These events are not rare. They happen. It's up to us to make sure that we are characterizing, detecting, tracking all of the near-Earth objects that could be a threat to the world."
The constellation Orion is framed by two Perseid meteors on Aug. 12, 2018 in Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah.
Bridenstine said NASA modeling has predicted serious meteorite crashes will happen every 60 years and that three have crashed into the planet over the last century.
Bridenstine is calling for better systems to detect and track potentially threatening near-Earth objects, and he's advocating for a global effort on this front.