A crater the size of the state of Ohio has been discovered in Antarctica, using NASA satellite photography. Scientists think it was made by an asteroid that impacted the area 250 million years ago, causing the greatest mass extinction on earth?even bigger than the one that killed the dinosaurs. Let’s hope we’re not next!

The crater is 300 miles wide and has been spotted by satellite, buried beneath a half-mile of ice. It?s twice as big as the impact that was left by the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. In LiveScience.com, Robert Roy Britt quotes geologist Ralph von Frese as saying, “This?impact is much bigger than the impact that killed the dinosaurs, and probably would have caused catastrophic damage at the time.”
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The answer is yes?but not for about a hundred years: on May 4, 2102 to be exact, when the asteroid known as 2004 VD17 is scheduled to come close to earth. By then, NASA may be able to fight it off by firing a spacecraft into it to deflect it from crashing into the earth. Despite the fact that an asteroid impact wiped out an entire species (the dinosaurs) around 65 million years ago, the odds are that something else, like global warming, will get us first.

Small asteroids hit the Earth every few hundred years, but their effects can be deadly, as happened in the case of the dinosaurs. An asteroid that hit Siberia in 1908 had the force of 1,000 atomic bombs. The area it hit was unpopulated.
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Yet another asteroid is heading our way and could hit us in 31 years?will this one spell our doom, like an earlier one did for the dinosaurs? This one is called Apophis, after the ancient Egyptian spirit of evil and destruction.
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Dust from asteroids entering the atmosphere may influence Earth’s weather more than previously believed, according to an article in the journal Nature. Researchers have found evidence that dust from an asteroid burning up as it passed through Earth’s atmosphere formed a cloud of micron-sized particles large enough to influence local weather in Antarctica, where glaciers are rapidly melting. Particles this size are large enough to reflect sunlight, causing local cooling and playing a major role in cloud formation. The dust can even have a negative effect on the ozone layer. This may temporarily help reverse the rapid melting of the Antarctic.
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