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Double asteroid trouble may have wiped out dinos

Institute of Earth Physics

Wiped out dinos

When asteroids attack, dinosaurs lose. Though there are still competing theories as to why we lost awesome animals like Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptors, many scientists look to a long-ago asteroid impact to explain the wipeout.

A study published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters adds a new wrinkle to the asteroid assumption by suggesting that the dinos may have had to contend with not one, but two deadly balls of flying space rock. Titled “Morphology and population of binary asteroid impact craters,” the study was lead by Katarina Miljkovic from the Institute of Earth Physics in Paris.

If you look out into space around Earth, you’ll find that about 15 percent of asteroids are binary, meaning they’re traveling in pairs. However, only 2 to 4 percent of craters on Earth have been labeled as binary impacts. Miljkovic believes this number is under-reported and that many binary asteroids have been overlooked because their craters overlap.

The study identifies certain shapes that may indicate a double crash site. These range from craters that are obviously peanut-shaped to ones that look like tear drops.

Looking for abnormalities like elongated or asymmetrical impact craters may lead scientists to discovering more binary impacts throughout history than were previously noted. This brings us to the dinosaur issue. The crater of the asteroid many scientists believe took out the dinosaurs fits this description. It is located near Chicxulub in Mexico.

“The Chicxulub crater shows some important asymmetries. It is worth considering that it was formed by a binary asteroid,” Miljkovic told New Scientist.

Binary asteroids certainly spelled trouble for dinosaurs, but what does it mean for us today? Scientists are already working on ways to divert dangerous asteroids from Earth. They just might have their hands twice as full if a binary asteroid comes calling. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about dealing with twins.




  1. I usually wondered for planets which have 2, or perhaps 3 suns within their photo voltaic system- how erratic would their orbit be?

    And perform the suns center around one another, or simply sit motionless?

    When the orbits are unstable- it can make me question when we eventually visit a binary/trinary system, would a colony in this photo voltaic system may be facing serious dangers?

    I can not even think of the concentration of the photo voltaic flares if you have several sun in a single photo voltaic system-Possibly rays would render any planets in binary/trinary system insutible for human colonization..

  2. As with It requires two to tango, as they say.

  3. Asteroid flying near to earth today?

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