Origins of a Killer Asteroid


EARTH-SHATTERING IMPACT: When the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs slammed into Earth, it created a crater nearly 100 miles wide.

About 66 million years ago, a huge space rock struck Earth, causing massive destruction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Now, a new study shows where this dino-destroying asteroid, called the Chicxulub (CHIK-shoo-loob) impactor, may have come from. It likely originated in the outer portion of our solar system’s asteroid belt.

The asteroid belt is a region between Mars and Jupiter that contains more than a million asteroids. Scientists calculated that an asteroid the size of the Chicxulub impactor gets flung out of the asteroid belt toward Earth once every 250 million years. “This fits in with the timing of the [dinosaur’s] extinction event,” says Bill Bottke, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, who co-authored the study.

Skills Sheets (2)
Skills Sheets (2)