Once upon a time, there lived some really big lizards called dinosaurs. These guys were the ultimate kings and queens of the animal kingdom, ruling the roost for millions of years. But then, one day, something happened. Maybe they got a little too cocky, or perhaps Mother Nature was just having a bad day, but suddenly, BOOM!
Imagine it was about 65 million years ago, and the dinosaurs are just minding their own business, munching on some plants or chasing after prey, when suddenly, BAM! A giant meteorite hits the Earth, causing a catastrophic chain of events.
The impact creates massive shockwaves and sends dust and debris flying into the atmosphere, blocking out the sun’s rays and causing a sudden drop in temperature. Suddenly, it’s winter time for the dinos, but there’s no way to light a fire or snuggle up with a cozy blanket when you’re a 40-foot-long T-Rex.
With the sudden shift in climate, the dinos start to get a little cranky. They’re cold, hungry, and probably not in the mood for any Jurassic Park-style shenanigans.
Hopefully, it won’t happen to us as well one day.
No reason to worry… for now.
This week, three massive asteroids, including two that are potentially hazardous, will fly past Earth. The closest asteroid will miss Earth by a safe distance of 2.2 million miles. The asteroids are as wide as 40-story skyscrapers and their orbits intersect with Earth’s orbit every few years. Although they pose no immediate danger, as Livescience.com reveals, they are classified as potentially hazardous because they are large enough to cause significant damage if their trajectory changed and they collided with Earth.
Asteroid 2012 DK31 will pass by Earth on Monday, February 27th, at a distance of approximately 3 million miles. This asteroid is around 450 feet wide, equivalent to the height of a 40-story building, and its orbit intersects with Earth’s orbit periodically. On the following day, Tuesday, February 28th, another asteroid that is roughly the same size as a skyscraper will pass by Earth at a distance of about 2.2 million miles. This asteroid, known as 2006 BE55, crosses Earth’s orbit every four to five years. Lastly, on Friday, March 3rd, a 250-foot asteroid named 2021 QW will make a relatively close pass by Earth, even though it is not categorized as a potentially hazardous asteroid due to its size.
The asteroid that is believed to have caused the extinction of the dinosaurs was approximately 6 to 9 miles (10 to 15 kilometers) in diameter. This impact is estimated to have occurred about 66 million years ago.