The nonprofit B612 Foundation says data collected by the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, which uncovered the blasts, demonstrates that the chance of an asteroid inflicting catastrophic damage is higher than previously estimated.
Former astronaut Ed Lu, who now heads the California-based foundation, told reporters that an asteroid as small as 130 feet across has the potential to level a city.
While the 2013 blast above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk got global news coverage, the B612 Foundation says asteroid impacts with a force greater than 20 kilotons also occurred above the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2009, over the Southern Ocean in 2004 and above the Mediterranean in 2002.
The group is currently constructing an asteroid-hunting, infrared space telescope. called Sentinal.
It’s scheduled to be launched in 2018 and is expected to detect and track more than 200,000 asteroids during its first year of operation.