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NASA invests $5 million to avoid armageddon from space

The approval comes just days after a meteor struck the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring over 1000 people.
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NASA is investing $5 million in an early warning system that would detect small asteroids and meteors like the one that crashed into Russia a few days ago. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

NASA said that it will invest $5 million in a system to detect dangerous space rocks that are plummeting towards Earth.

The approval of the so called ATLAS project comes just days after a meteor struck the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring over 1000 people.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii are developing the system that will monitor the sky twice per night to look for faint objects, said Khon 2.

It operates eight telescopes with 100 megapixel cameras at two locations on the islands.

More from GlobalPost: Is Asteroid 2012 DA14 a threat to Earth? Q & A (VIDEO)

The project's website says that the system could detect an object as faint as a match flame from the distance between New York and San Francisco.

"It's gonna involve small telescopes about the size of a good garbage can, but very wide fields of view and the intent is to basically scan the whole sky a couple times a night and that makes it possible for things to sneak through," said John Tonry, Professor at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, according to the Escapist.

The meteor that hit Russia was flying at 33,000 miles per hour and exploded with the power of an atomic weapon about 18 miles above Earth, said Science World Report.

The ATLAS system is expected to be operational by 2015.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/nasa-invests-5-million-avoid-armageddon-space