It was around 66 million years ago that a giant asteroid hit the earth and resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs. Since then, such a mass extinction event has not taken place. But space experts, including Iain McDonald and Neil deGrasse Tyson, believe that doomsday asteroid hits will happen in the future. Adding up heat to this theory, a new study has suggested that deadly asteroids used to batter earth more often than previously thought.
Asteroid impacts much more common than previous assumptions
During the research, scientists estimated the age of Wolfe Creek Crater, a 2,900 ft-wide impact crater located in Western Australia. It should be noted that this crater was formed after 4,000-tonne asteroid exploded and unleashed an energy equivalent of 36 nuclear bombs. Previously, it was believed that the collision took place around 3,00,000 years ago. But the new study carried out by scientists at the University of Wollongong found that the impact actually happened around 1,20,000 years ago.
The new finding compelled scientists to revise earlier estimates of how often dangerous asteroids used to hit the planet. Researchers who took part in the study revealed that asteroids capable of devastating a small city will approach the earth at least every 200 years.
"Although the rate is only one large meteor hitting Australia every 17,000 years, it isn't that simple. Since Australia has an excellent preservation record with dated craters within the arid zone, we can extrapolate a rate for the whole Earth. Taking into account that arid Australia is only about one percent of the surface, the rate increases to one every 180 years or so," the Sun.co.uk quoted Professor Tim Barrows, who led the study, as saying.
NASA developing planetary defense weapon
As fears surrounding a possible asteroid hit in the future loom up, NASA, the United States space agency is now busy developing a planetary defence weapon to protect the earth from deep space threats. In the mission, NASA has apparently joined hands with ESA and private space companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX.
A few weeks back, Elon Musk had called NASA's planetary protection mission, 'Armageddon', and it made many people start believing that a doomsday asteroid hit will happen in the near future.