Shocking! Forget dinosaur-killer asteroid, the biggest asteroid to hit Earth was 2x BIGGER

The largest asteroid to hit Earth put the Dinosaur killing asteroid in shade.

| Updated on: Oct 09 2022, 23:50 IST
In Pics: Asteroid as big as house speeding towards Earth today! NASA clocks 44568 kmph speed
Asteroid and Earth
1/6 Asteroids have been responsible for some of the biggest events in history. From the Chelyabinsk disaster that claimed many lives to the meteor which caused the extinction of dinosaurs millions of years ago, whenever meteors have crashed on Earth, they have impacted lives. (Pixabay)
2/6 Planetary Defense Coordination Office is responsible for monitoring the skies and keeping a watch on various Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). If any NEO comes within 8 million kilometers of Earth, the organization red flags the NEO and issues an alert. (NASA)
3/6 Now, NASA has red-flagged an asteroid, named Asteroid 2022 SO11, which is dangerously heading for Earth today, October 4. NASA has warned that Asteroid 2022 SO11 is nearly 46 feet wide, which is nearly the size of a house. (Pixabay)
4/6 at Asteroid 2022 SO11 is nearly 46 feet wide, which is nearly the size of a house. Photo caption 4: Asteroid 2022 SO11 is already on its way towards Earth travelling at a staggering speed of 44568 kilometers per hour and will just miss the planet today, October 4. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of just 1.1 million kilometers, according to NASA. (Pixabay)
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5/6 Tech behind asteroid tracking: NASA currently has a NEO Observations Program in place to track, and characterize at least 90 percent of the NEOs that are 140 meters or larger in size. Most of the asteroids are observed with the help of the NEOWISE Project which repurposed NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer to work as a survey telescope and scan the sky for Near-Earth Objects. (NASA)
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6/6 NASA JPL also uses a variety of ground-based telescopes in the hunt for these asteroids. NASA JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has also recently developed a next-generation asteroid impact monitoring system which has gone online. (NASA)
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Know these interesting facts about the largest asteroid Vredefort to hit Earth. (Pixabay)

We are familiar with the theory that a massive 10-15 kilometeres wide asteroid ended the era of dinosaurs around 66 million years ago. The impact of the asteroid created the Chicxulub crater, which is buried under Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, which measures around 112 miles (180 km) in diameter. But do you know which is the biggest asteroid to hit Earth. It is called the Vredefort asteroid and it slammed into the planet around 2 billion years ago. Now, a new study has revealed that the asteroid is even more massive than scientists previously thought.

According to the study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the size of the Vredefort asteroid has been measured at somewhere between 12.4 and 15.5 miles (20 and 25 km) across. It also revealed that it could have been traveling between 45000 and 56000 mph (72000 and 90000 km/h) while hitting the Earth. The crater it had created is known as Vredefort crater, which left a humongous scar in today's South Africa. It currently measures about 99 miles (159 km) in diameter, making it the biggest visible crater on Earth.

However, with time, these asteroid craters slowly erode and shrink. The recent estimate suggests that the Vredefort crater was originally 155-174 miles (250-280 km). Resultantly, the Vredefort crater is said to be the largest impact crater on Earth.

How Vredefort impact is different from Chicxulub impact

The report says that unlike the Chicxulub asteroid impact, the largest asteroid Vredefort impact did not cause a massive extinction of flora and fauna on Earth. The latest study's co-author Miki Nakajima, a planetary scientist at the University of Rochester in New York said, "Unlike the Chicxulub impact, the Vredefort impact did not leave a record of mass extinction or forest fires given that there were only single-cell lifeforms and no trees existed two billion years ago.”

However, the impact of the Vredefort asteroid affected global climate more extensively than the Chicxulub asteroid strike on Earth.

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First Published Date: 09 Oct, 23:49 IST