Is Earth Ready for the Next Asteroid Strike?

NASA and FEMA are working together to devise strategies in case a massive asteroid or comet is found heading toward the Earth. Although asteroids hit our planet on a regular basis, few cause significant damage. In 2013, a meteor exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia, injuring 1,100 people. Roughly 66 million years ago, an asteroid the size of Mount Everest hit the Earth, ending the age of dinosaurs. Researchers do not currently know of any asteroid or comet headed on a collision course with our planet.

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Did Global Warming Kill off the Dinosaurs?

Most dinosaurs were wiped out 66 million years ago, but scientists are still trying to piece together exactly what caused their demise. An asteroid, at least as large as Mount Everest, struck the Earth at that time, likely leading to the extinction of all non-avian dinosaurs. However, new research suggests that volcanic activity at Deccan Traps in India may have doomed the animals before the asteroid struck off the coast of Mexico. A series of four massive pulses of eruptions there released enough lava to build a ring one mile thick and five miles across that would encircle the globe. These events also released vast quantities of poisonous gas into the atmosphere, and created extreme global warming, raising temperatures worldwide. This climate change may have weakened the line of dinosaurs so much, they were unable to withstand the additional climate change which happened once the asteroid hit the Earth.

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