CLEVELAND -- A meteorite slams into the earth as an asteroid goes whizzing by just outside our atmosphere.

What a day for science it was, the kind that leaves many of us wondering "what if?"

"All of the sudden, oh hey, a meteor blew up over Russia. Oh good. Nobody knew? That's great. That was really shocking," said Cayte Ternes.

"It was neat seeing the pictures of it and stuff, but I know it caused a lot of destruction," Laura Sprunt said.

Early Friday, a meteor streaked across Russia at nearly 20 miles a second, creating an air pressure wave that blasted out windows and left hundreds with injuries.

"When you saw the streaks, the white streaks, across the sky, and you saw the boom coming out of the streak, I thought it was impressive," said Edgardo Rivera. "And the coincidence as well with the asteroid."

But astronomers say it was just that -- a coincidence.

"This is very exciting for science," said Dr. Jim Karner, a senior research associate at Case Western Reserve University. Karner works with the Antarctic Search for Meteorites program.

"There's only been about a thousand in history that have been witnessed where we actually saw the fireball, and actually recovered pieces of the rock after that," said Karner.

A meteorite detective, Karner says scientists will likely be able to link the pieces of rock back to where it came from -- a fresh piece of space to study.

"It just makes you wonder where will it hit next, where will the next one be? If it can do it now, when will it do it the next time?" said Kelcie Pennington.

Meteorite strikes are known for damage, creating craters, even knocking off dinosaurs.

"We've learned that impacts have a huge affect on the solar system and the earth," said Karner.

Dr. Karner says these events are extremely rare, even on a timescale of tens of millions of years.

But the impact an astroid or meteor of the right size could create is a real threat.

Estimates put something the size of the 2012 DA14 hitting the Earth with the energy of a nuclear bomb.