Study finds twice as many asteroids striking Earth as dinosaur era

Large asteroids have been striking Earth more than twice as often in the past 290 million years than in the previous 700 million years, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science.

But asteroids still only hit the planet on average every million at the most, and NASA’s list of potential crashes shows no strikes in the near future.


“It’s just a game of probabilities,” the study’s lead author Sara Mazrouei said. “These events are still rare and far between that I’m not too worried about it.”

The study compiled a list of asteroid strikes on the moon and Earth that created craters larger than 12 miles wide and assigned them dates. The list counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years and nine between 291 million years and 650 million years old. 

Adding extrapolation for craters that cannot be seen underwater or were wiped away from glacial forces, the study concluded there had been 260 asteroid strikes in the last 290 million years, which calculates to a rate of 2.6 times more than the previous 700 million years.

“Perhaps an asteroid family was broken up in the asteroid belt,” Mazrouei ventured about what caused the pivot.