Last asteroid impact on Earth? NASA scientist reveals truth
Have you ever wondered when was the last time Earth got hit by an asteroid? If so, then NASA scientist Marina Brozovic might have the answer. Asteroids are small, rocky celestial objects in space which appear as a point of light when seen through a telescope. Although most asteroids are found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the asteroid belt, some asteroids have made their way towards Earth and crashed into it in the past.
Some of them have even caused a major impact and even triggered an extinction-level event. An asteroid was responsible for triggering the extinction of dinosaurs when it crashed on Earth near the near the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico more than 65 million years ago.
But has any asteroid recently impacted Earth? Well, this NASA scientist says it has. NASA scientist Marina Brozovic reveals, “Well, the answer depends on whether you're asking about small or large impacts. Because Earth gets hit all the time. But luckily for us, the vast majority of these impactors are small and they just burn in the atmosphere.”
“The most significant fireball event in over 100 years occurred over Russia in 2013. We actually got hit by an asteroid that was the size of a small building and that one disintegrated about 20 kilometers above the city of Chelyabinsk. And it deposited a fair number of meteorites in the ground and I happen to have a piece of the Chelyabinsk impactor right here in my hand,” she added.
Although, you might have to go way back in time to find an asteroid which caused a major impact on the planet. Even then, you might not be able to spot them because of the constant erosion of craters. They might have even crashed in the oceans, making it impossible to locate the craters.
But small asteroid impacts probably occur daily, according to NASA. Brozovic explains, “Small impacts, they happen all the time, especially given that about 15,000 tons of space dust hits Earth every year. And large impacts are rare, and we're talking millions of years rare.”
These asteroids are small enough that they burn up in the atmosphere itself without ever touching the planet's surface.