Previously, NASA stated that Asteroid 52768 (1998 OR2) could hit Earth in April 2020, and it can cause a massive catastrophe. Later they said that on April 29, 2020, Asteroid 52768 is expected to fly by earth at a distance of approximately 4 million miles. It will be an interest for stargazers, but the statement clearly shows that it will not affect civilization and obviously, the world is not going to end in April 2020.
Past Events of Asteroids hitting on the Earth
According to National Geographic Website, here are the list top 5 and the most recent events of asteroids hitting on the Earth:
Asteroid impact date: Estimated 145 million years ago
Location: North West, South Africa
Specs: Located near the Kalahari Desert in South Africa, this crater contained the fossilized remains of the meteorite that created it.
Asteroid impact date: Estimated 70.3 million years ago
Location: Nenetsia, Russia
Specs: Now substantially eroded, the Kara crater is a non-exposed impact structure in Russia. Some have claimed that the impact structure actually consists of two adjacent craters: the Kara and the Ust-Kara crater.
Asteroid impact date: Estimated 65 million years ago
Location: Yucatán, Mexico
Specs: Located on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, many scientists believe that the meteorite that left this crater caused or contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Estimates of its actual diameter range from 106 to a whopping 186 miles (170 to 300 kilometers), which, if proved right, could mean it’s the biggest.
Asteroid impact date: Estimated 35.7 million years ago
Location: Siberia, Russia
Specs: Russian scientists claim that this crater site contains trillions of carats of diamonds, making it one of the largest diamond deposits in the world. These diamonds have been referred to as “impact diamonds.”
Chesapeake Bay Crater
Asteroid impact date: Estimated 35 million years ago
Location: Virginia, United States
Specs: Discovered in the early 1980s, the Chesapeake Bay Crater is located approximately 125 miles (201 kilometers) from Washington, D.C. Some estimates suggest this crater is 53 miles (85 kilometers) wide.
So What Really are these Asteroids?
The rocky bodies present in our solar system are called Asteroids, we call them minor planets as well. Asteroids of larger size are also named planetoids. It is an asteroid-like body in orbit beyond the asteroid belt, such as a Kuiper belt object.
Asteroids are present significantly in different sizes, varying from 1000km to just 1m. The three largest asteroids are more like mini planets and are of roughly spherical in shapes, the rest of the others are minimal in size majorly consider as the chunks of large size asteroids and irregular shape.
The most massive asteroid name Ceres with a diameter of 940 km (580 mi). The other largest is Vesta and Pallas, both with diameters of just over 500 km. Vesta is the only main-belt asteroid that can be visible to the naked eye. In some exceptional circumstances, a near-Earth asteroid may briefly become visible without specialized aid.
The asteroid belt lies between Mars and Jupiter; it contains Asteroids about 1.1 million to 1.9 million, on estimation, they are larger than 1 km (0.6 mi) in diameter and millions of smaller ones. These asteroids may be fragments of the planet-forming disk. In this region, the more minor asteroids do not stick together into planets during the formative period of the Solar System, avoided by the immense gravitational force of Jupiter.
WHAT HAPPENS IF AN ASTEROID HITS EARTH SURFACE?
There are many craters on Earth (and the moon too) that shows the history that large objects hit the planet back then. The most prominent asteroid ever is the one that knocked the Earth 65 million years ago. It is supposed that this asteroid had created so much moisture and dust into the atmosphere that it cut off sunlight, lowering temperatures worldwide and causing the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Imagine if the asteroid comparing the size of a building of 20 floors (200 feet on a side) hits the earth’s surface, it has an amount of energy equal to the largest made nuclear bomb of today. In other words, if a mile-wide asteroid hit New York City directly, result in damaging everything from Washington D.C. to Boston. The dust and debris into the atmosphere would block out the sun and cause most living things on the planet to die immediately. If an asteroid of the same size land in the ocean, it would cause massive tidal waves hundreds of feet high that would thoroughly cleanse the coastlines.
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Waniya Khursheed is a student of Space science at Karachi University, She is working as Event Manager at RaheQamar. She is working to promote space sciences in Pakistan. She hopes that one day Pakistan will play an active part in the Global Space industry.