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Impact events appear to have played a significant role in the evolution of the Solar System since its formation. Major impact events have significantly shaped Earth's history, have been implicated in the formation of the Earth–Moon system, the evolutionary history of life, the origin of water on Earth and several mass extinctions. Notable impact events include the Chicxulub impact, 66 million years ago, believed to be the cause of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
Throughout recorded history, hundreds of Earth impacts (and exploding bolides) have been reported, with some occurrences causing deaths, injuries, property damage, or other significant localised consequences. One of the best-known recorded impacts in modern times was the Tunguska event, which occurred in Siberia, Russia, in 1908. The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor event is the only known such incident in modern times to result in a large number of injuries, excluding the 1490 Ch'ing-yang event in China, and the Chelyabinsk meteor is the largest recorded object to have encountered the Earth since the Tunguska event.
The Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 impact provided the first direct observation of an extraterrestrial collision of Solar System objects, when the comet broke apart and collided with Jupiter in July 1994. An extrasolar impact was observed in 2013, when a massive terrestrial planet impact was detected around the star ID8 in the star cluster NGC 2547 by NASA's Spitzer space telescope and confirmed by ground observations. Impact events have been a plot and background element in science fiction.
- 1 Impacts and the Earth
- 2 Elsewhere in the Solar System
- 3 Extrasolar impacts
- 4 Popular culture
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
Impacts and the EarthMajor impact events have significantly shaped Earth's history, having been implicated in the formation of the Earth–Moon system, the evolutionary history of life, the origin of water on Earth, and several mass extinctions. Impact structures are the result of impact events on solid objects and, as the dominant landforms on many of the System's solid objects, present the most solid evidence of prehistoric events. Notable impact events include the Late Heavy Bombardment, which occurred early in history of the Earth–Moon system, and the Chicxulub impact, 66 million years ago, believed to be the cause of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.
Frequency and risk
|“||REP. STEWART: ... are we technologically capable of launching something that could intercept [an asteroid]? ... DR. A'HEARN: No. If we had spacecraft plans on the books already, that would take a year ... I mean a typical small mission ... takes four years from approval to start to launch ...||”|
|— Rep. Chris Stewart (R,UT) and Dr. Michael F. A'Hearn, 10 April 2013, United States Congress|
The energy released by an impactor depends on diameter, density, velocity, and angle. The diameter of most near-Earth asteroids that have not been studied by radar or infrared can generally only be estimated within about a factor of 2 based on the asteroid brightness. The density is generally assumed because the diameter and mass are also generally estimates. The minimum impact velocity on Earth is 11 km/s with asteroid impacts averaging around 17 km/s. The most probable impact angle is 45 degrees.
AirburstsStony asteroids with a diameter of 4 meters (13 ft) enter Earth's atmosphere approximately once per year. Asteroids with a diameter of 7 meters enter the atmosphere about every 5 years with as much kinetic energy as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (approximately 16 kilotons of TNT), but the air burst is reduced to just 5 kilotons. These ordinarily explode in the upper atmosphere and most or all of the solids are vaporized. However, asteroids with a diameter of 20 m (66 ft), and which strike Earth approximately twice every century, produce more powerful airbursts. The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor was estimated to be about 20 m in diameter with an airburst of around 500 kilotons, an explosion 30 times the one over Hiroshima. Much larger objects may impact the solid earth and create a crater.
|Kinetic energy at||Airburst
|4 m (13 ft)||3 kt||0.75 kt||42.5 km (139,000 ft)||1.3|
|7 m (23 ft)||16 kt||5 kt||36.3 km (119,000 ft)||4.6|
|10 m (33 ft)||47 kt||19 kt||31.9 km (105,000 ft)||10|
|15 m (49 ft)||159 kt||82 kt||26.4 km (87,000 ft)||27|
|20 m (66 ft)||376 kt||230 kt||22.4 km (73,000 ft)||60|
|30 m (98 ft)||1.3 Mt||930 kt||16.5 km (54,000 ft)||185|
|50 m (160 ft)||5.9 Mt||5.2 Mt||8.7 km (29,000 ft)||764|
|70 m (230 ft)||16 Mt||15.2 Mt||3.6 km (12,000 ft)||1,900|
|85 m (279 ft)||29 Mt||28 Mt||0.58 km (1,900 ft)||3,300|
|Based on density of 2600 kg/m3, speed of 17 km/s, and an impact angle of 45°|
|Kinetic energy at||Crater
|100 m (330 ft)||47 Mt||3.8 Mt||1.2 km (0.75 mi)||5,200|
|130 m (430 ft)||103 Mt||31.4 Mt||2 km (1.2 mi)||11,000|
|150 m (490 ft)||159 Mt||71.5 Mt||2.4 km (1.5 mi)||16,000|
|200 m (660 ft)||376 Mt||261 Mt||3 km (1.9 mi)||36,000|
|250 m (820 ft)||734 Mt||598 Mt||3.8 km (2.4 mi)||59,000|
|300 m (980 ft)||1270 Mt||1110 Mt||4.6 km (2.9 mi)||73,000|
|400 m (1,300 ft)||3010 Mt||2800 Mt||6 km (3.7 mi)||100,000|
|700 m (2,300 ft)||16100 Mt||15700 Mt||10 km (6.2 mi)||190,000|
|1,000 m (3,300 ft)||47000 Mt||46300 Mt||13.6 km (8.5 mi)||440,000|
|Based on ρ = 2600 kg/m3; v = 17 km/s; and an angle of 45°|
The late Eugene Shoemaker of the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the rate of Earth impacts, concluding that an event about the size of the nuclear weapon that destroyed Hiroshima occurs about once a year. Such events would seem to be spectacularly obvious, but they generally go unnoticed for a number of reasons: the majority of the Earth's surface is covered by water; a good portion of the land surface is uninhabited; and the explosions generally occur at relatively high altitude, resulting in a huge flash and thunderclap but no real damage.
Although no human is known to have been killed directly by an impact[disputed ], over 1000 people were injured by the Chelyabinsk meteor airburst event over Russia in 2013. In 2005 it was estimated that the chance of a single person born today dying due to an impact is around 1 in 200,000. The four-meter-sized asteroids 2008 TC3 and 2014 AA, and suspected artificial satellite WT1190F are the only known objects to be detected before impacting the Earth.
Geological significanceImpacts have had, during the history of the Earth, a significant geological and climatic influence.
The Moon's existence is widely attributed to a huge impact early in Earth's history. Impact events earlier in the history of Earth have been credited with creative as well as destructive events; it has been proposed that impacting comets delivered the Earth's water, and some have suggested that the origins of life may have been influenced by impacting objects by bringing organic chemicals or lifeforms to the Earth's surface, a theory known as exogenesis.
It was not until 1903–1905 that the Barringer Crater was correctly identified as an impact crater, and it was not until as recently as 1963 that research by Eugene Merle Shoemaker conclusively proved this hypothesis. The findings of late 20th-century space exploration and the work of scientists such as Shoemaker demonstrated that impact cratering was by far the most widespread geological process at work on the Solar System's solid bodies. Every surveyed solid body in the Solar System was found to be cratered, and there was no reason to believe that the Earth had somehow escaped bombardment from space. In the last few decades of the 20th century, a large number of highly modified impact craters began to be identified. The first direct observation of a major impact event occurred in 1994: the collision of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter.
Based on crater formation rates determined from the Earth's closest celestial partner, the Moon, astrogeologists have determined that during the last 600 million years, the Earth has been struck by 60 objects of a diameter of 5 km (3 mi) or more. The smallest of these impactors would leave a crater almost 100 km (60 mi) across. Only three confirmed craters from that time period with that size or greater have been found: Chicxulub, Popigai, and Manicouagan, and all three have been suspected of being linked to extinction events though only Chicxulub, the largest of the three, has been consistently considered.
Besides direct effect of asteroid impacts on a planet's surface topography, global climate and life, recent studies have shown that several consecutive impacts might have an effect on the dynamo mechanism at a planet's core responsible for maintaining the magnetic field of the planet, and might eventually shut down the planet's magnetic field.
While numerous impact craters have been confirmed on land or in the shallow seas over continental shelves, no impact craters in the deep ocean have been widely accepted by the scientific community. Impacts of projectiles as large as one km in diameter are generally thought to explode before reaching the sea floor, but it is unknown what would happen if a much larger impactor struck the deep ocean. The lack of a crater, however, does not mean that an ocean impact would not have dangerous implications for humanity. Some scholars have argued that an impact event in an ocean or sea may create a megatsunami (a giant wave), which can cause destruction both at sea and on land along the coast, but this is disputed. An example of an ocean impact is the large but apparently craterless Eltanin impact into the Pacific Ocean in 2.5 Ma and is thought to involve an object about 1 to 4 kilometres (0.62 to 2.49 mi) across.
An impact event may cause a mantle plume (volcanism) at the antipodal point of the impact.
Biospheric effectsThe effect of impact events on the biosphere has been the subject of scientific debate. Several theories of impact-related mass extinction have been developed. In the past 500 million years there have been five generally accepted major mass extinctions that on average extinguished half of all species. One of the largest mass extinctions to have affected life on Earth was the Permian-Triassic, which ended the Permian period 250 million years ago and killed off 90 percent of all species; life on Earth took 30 million years to recover. The cause of the Permian-Triassic extinction is still a matter of debate; the age and origin of proposed impact craters, i.e. the Bedout High structure, hypothesized to be associated with it are still controversial. The last such mass extinction led to the demise of the dinosaurs and coincided with a large meteorite impact; this is the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event (also known as the K–T or K–Pg extinction event), which occurred 66 million years ago. There is no definitive evidence of impacts leading to the three other major mass extinctions.
In 1980, physicist Luis Alvarez; his son, geologist Walter Alvarez; and nuclear chemists Frank Asaro and Helen V. Michael from the University of California, Berkeley discovered unusually high concentrations of iridium in a specific layer of rock strata in the Earth's crust. Iridium is an element that is rare on Earth but relatively abundant in many meteorites. From the amount and distribution of iridium present in the 65-million-year-old "iridium layer", the Alvarez team later estimated that an asteroid of 10 to 14 km (6 to 9 mi) must have collided with the earth. This iridium layer at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary has been found worldwide at 100 different sites. Multidirectionally shocked quartz (coesite), which is normally associated with large impact events or atomic bomb explosions, has also been found in the same layer at more than 30 sites. Soot and ash at levels tens of thousands times normal levels were found with the above.
Anomalies in chromium isotopic ratios found within the K-T boundary layer strongly support the impact theory. Chromium isotopic ratios are homogeneous within the earth, and therefore these isotopic anomalies exclude a volcanic origin, which has also been proposed as a cause for the iridium enrichment. Further, the chromium isotopic ratios measured in the K-T boundary are similar to the chromium isotopic ratios found in carbonaceous chondrites. Thus a probable candidate for the impactor is a carbonaceous asteroid, but also a comet is possible because comets are assumed to consist of material similar to carbonaceous chondrites.
Probably the most convincing evidence for a worldwide catastrophe was the discovery of the crater which has since been named Chicxulub Crater. This crater is centered on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and was discovered by Tony Camargo and Glen Pentfield while working as geophysicists for the Mexican oil company PEMEX. What they reported as a circular feature later turned out to be a crater estimated to be 180 km (110 mi) in diameter. This convinced the vast majority of scientists that this extinction resulted from a point event that is most probably an extraterrestrial impact and not from increased volcanism and climate change (which would spread its main effect over a much longer time period).
Although there is now general agreement that there was a huge impact at the end of the Cretaceous that led to the iridium enrichment of the K-T boundary layer, remnants have been found of other, smaller impacts, some nearing half the size of the Chicxulub crater, which did not result in any mass extinctions, and there is no clear linkage between an impact and any other incident of mass extinction.
Paleontologists David M. Raup and Jack Sepkoski have proposed that an excess of extinction events occurs roughly every 26 million years (though many are relatively minor). This led physicist Richard A. Muller to suggest that these extinctions could be due to a hypothetical companion star to the Sun called Nemesis periodically disrupting the orbits of comets in the Oort cloud, leading to a large increase in the number of comets reaching the inner Solar System where they might hit Earth. Physicist Adrian Melott and paleontologist Richard Bambach have more recently verified the Raup and Sepkoski finding, but argue that it is not consistent with the characteristics expected of a Nemesis-style periodicity.
Sociological and cultural effectsAn impact event is commonly seen as a scenario that would bring about the end of civilization. In 2000, Discover Magazine published a list of 20 possible sudden doomsday scenarios with an impact event listed as the most likely to occur.
A joint Pew Research Center/Smithsonian survey from April 21–26, 2010 found that 31 percent of Americans believed that an asteroid will collide with Earth by 2050. A majority (61 percent) disagreed.
The leading theory of the Moon's origin is the giant impact theory, which postulates that Earth was once hit by a planetoid the size of Mars; such a theory is able to explain the size and composition of the Moon, something not done by other theories of lunar formation.
Evidence of a massive impact in South Africa near a geological formation known as the Barberton Greenstone Belt was uncovered by scientists in April 2014. They estimated the impact occurred about 3.26 billion years ago and that the impactor was approximately 37–58 kilometers (23–36 miles) wide. The crater from this event, if it still exists, has not yet been found.
Two 10-kilometre sized asteroids are now believed to have struck Australia between 360 and 300 million years ago at the Western Warburton and East Warburton Basins creating a 400-kilometre impact zone. According to evidence found in 2015 it is the largest ever recorded. A third, possible impact was also identified in 2015 to the north, on the upper Diamantina River, also believed to have been caused by an asteroid 10 km across about 300 million years ago, but further studies are needed to establish that this crustal anomaly was indeed the result of an impact event.
HoloceneThe Rio Cuarto craters in Argentina were produced approximately 10,000 years ago, at the beginning of the Holocene. If proved to be impact craters, they would be the first impact of the holocene.
The Campo del Cielo ("Field of Heaven") refers to an area bordering Argentina's Chaco Province where a group of iron meteorites were found, estimated as dating to 4,000–5,000 years ago. It first came to attention of Spanish authorities in 1576; in 2015, police arrested four alleged smugglers trying to steal more than a ton of protected meteorites. The Henbury craters in Australia (~5,000 years old) and Kaali craters in Estonia (~2,700 years old) were apparently produced by objects that broke up before impact.
A Chinese record states that 10,000 people were killed in the 1490 Ch'ing-yang event with the deaths caused by a hail of "falling stones"; some astronomers hypothesize that this may describe an actual meteorite fall, although they find the number of deaths implausible.
Kamil Crater, discovered from Google Earth image review in Egypt, 45 m (148 ft) in diameter and 10 m (33 ft) deep, is thought to have been formed less than 3,500 years ago in a then-unpopulated region of western Egypt. It was found February 19, 2009 by V. de Michelle on a Google Earth image of the East Uweinat Desert, Egypt.
In February 1947, another large bolide impacted the Earth in the Sikhote-Alin Mountains, Primorye, Soviet Union. It was during daytime, so was witnessed by many people, which allowed V. G. Fesenkov, then chairman of the meteorite committee of the USSR Academy of Science, to estimate the meteoroid's orbit before it encountered the Earth. Sikhote-Alin is a massive fall with the overall size of the meteoroid estimated at approximately 90,000 kg (200,000 lb). A more recent estimate by Tsvetkov (and others) puts the mass at around 100,000 kg (220,000 lb). It was an iron meteorite belonging to the chemical group IIAB and with a coarse octahedrite structure. More than 70 tonnes (metric tons) of material survived the collision.
A case of a human injured by a space rock occurred on November 30, 1954, in Sylacauga, Alabama. There a 4 kg (8.8 lb) stone chondrite crashed through a roof and hit Ann Hodges in her living room after it bounced off her radio. She was badly bruised by the fragments. Several persons have since claimed to have been struck by "meteorites" but no verifiable meteorites have resulted.
A small number of meteor falls have been observed with automated cameras and recovered following calculation of the impact point. The first of these was the Pribram meteorite, which fell in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) in 1959. In this case, two cameras used to photograph meteors captured images of the fireball. The images were used both to determine the location of the stones on the ground and, more significantly, to calculate for the first time an accurate orbit for a recovered meteorite.
Following the Pribram fall, other nations established automated observing programs aimed at studying infalling meteorites. One of these was the Prairie Network, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory from 1963 to 1975 in the midwestern US. This program also observed a meteorite fall, the "Lost City" chondrite, allowing its recovery and a calculation of its orbit. Another program in Canada, the Meteorite Observation and Recovery Project, ran from 1971 to 1985. It too recovered a single meteorite, "Innisfree", in 1977. Finally, observations by the European Fireball Network, a descendant of the original Czech program that recovered Pribram, led to the discovery and orbit calculations for the Neuschwanstein meteorite in 2002.
On August 10, 1972, a meteor which became known as the 1972 Great Daylight Fireball was witnessed by many people as it moved north over the Rocky Mountains from the U.S. Southwest to Canada. It was filmed by a tourist at the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming with an 8-millimeter color movie camera. The object was in the range of size from a car to a house and could have ended its life in a Hiroshima-sized blast, but there was never any explosion. Analysis of the trajectory indicated that it never came much lower than 58 km (36 mi) off the ground, and the conclusion was that it had grazed Earth's atmosphere for about 100 seconds, then skipped back out of the atmosphere to return to its orbit around the Sun.
Many impact events occur without being observed by anyone on the ground. Between 1975 and 1992, American missile early warning satellites picked up 136 major explosions in the upper atmosphere. In the November 21, 2002, edition of the journal Nature, Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario reported on his study of US early warning satellite records for the preceding eight years. He identified 300 flashes caused by 1 to 10 m (3 to 33 ft) meteors in that time period and estimated the rate of Tunguska-sized events as once in 400 years. Eugene Shoemaker estimated that an event of such magnitude occurs about once every 300 years, though more recent analyses have suggested he exaggerated by an order of magnitude.
In the dark morning hours of January 18, 2000, a fireball exploded over the city of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory at an altitude of about 26 km (16 mi), lighting up the night like day. The meteor that produced the fireball was estimated to be about 4.6 m (15 ft) in diameter, with a weight of 180 tonnes. This blast was also featured on the Science Channel series Killer Asteroids, with several witness reports from residents in Atlin, British Columbia.
21st-century impactsOn 7 June 2006, a meteor was observed striking Reisadalen in Nordreisa municipality in Troms County, Norway. Although initial witness reports stated that the resultant fireball was equivalent to the Hiroshima nuclear explosion, scientific analysis places the force of the blast at anywhere from 100–500 tonnes TNT equivalent, around three percent of Hiroshima's yield.
On 15 September 2007, a chondritic meteor crashed near the village of Carancas in southeastern Peru near Lake Titicaca, leaving a water-filled hole and spewing gases across the surrounding area. Many residents became ill, apparently from the noxious gases shortly after the impact.
On 7 October 2008, a meteoroid labeled 2008 TC3 was tracked for 20 hours as it approached Earth and as it fell through the atmosphere and impacted in Sudan. This was the first time an object was detected before it reached the atmosphere and hundreds of pieces of the meteorite were recovered from the Nubian Desert.
Elsewhere in the Solar System
Evidence of massive past impact events
|Event||Date (UTC)||Rough original
|Latitude (°)||Longitude (°)|
|May 2017 event||2017/05/26 19:25||13||+51.2||?|
|Mar 2016 event||2016/03/17 00:18:33||15||+4||?|
|Sep 2012 event||2012/09/10 11:35:00||30||+2||345|
|Aug 2010 event||2010/08/20 18:22:12||10||+11||?|
|Jun 2010 Jupiter impact event||2010/06/03 20:31:20||12||−16.1||342.7|
|Jul 2009 Jupiter impact event||2009/07/19 13:30||300||−57||305|
|Jul 1994 Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9||1994/07/16-22||1800||−65||?|
The 2009 Jupiter impact event happened on July 19 when a new black spot about the size of Earth was discovered in Jupiter's southern hemisphere by amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley. Thermal infrared analysis showed it was warm and spectroscopic methods detected ammonia. JPL scientists confirmed that there was another impact event on Jupiter, probably involving a small undiscovered comet or other icy body. The impactor is estimated to have been about 200–500 meters in diameter.
A 2010 Jupiter impact event occurred on June 3 involving an object estimated at 8–13 meters was recorded and first reported by Anthony Wesley.
On Sept 10, 2012, amateur astronomer Dan Petersen visually detected a fireball on Jupiter that lasted 1 or 2 seconds using a 12″ LX200. It was estimated that the fireball was created by a meteoroid less than 10 meters in diameter.
On March 17, 2016, a Jupiter impact event occurred involving an unknown object, possibly a small comet or asteroid estimated at 30–90 meters (or a few hundred feet) across. Footage of the event was recorded from the telescope of amateur astronomer John McKeon.
In 2010, between January and May, Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 took images of an unusual X shape originated in the aftermath of the collision between asteroid P/2010 A2 with a smaller asteroid.
Around March 27, 2012, based on evidence, there were signs of an impact on Mars. Images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provide compelling evidence of the largest impact observed to date on Mars in the form of fresh craters, the largest measuring 48.5 by 43.5 meters. It is estimated to be caused by an impactor 3 to 5 meters long.
On March 19, 2013, an impact occurred on the Moon that was visible from Earth, when a boulder-sized 30 cm meteoroid slammed into the lunar surface at 90,000 km/h (56,000 mph) creating a 20-meter crater. NASA has actively monitored lunar impacts since 2005, tracking hundreds of candidate events.
In 2013, an impact between minor planets was detected around the star NGC 2547 by Spitzer and confirmed by ground observations. Computer modelling suggests that the impact involved large asteroids or protoplanets similar to the events believed to have led to the formation of terrestrial planets like the Earth.
Science fiction novelsNumerous science fiction stories and novels center around an impact event. One of the first and more popular is Off on a Comet (French: Hector Servadac) by Jules Verne, published in 1877, and H. G. Wells wrote about such an event in his 1897 short story "The Star." In more modern times, possibly the best-selling was the novel Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. Arthur C. Clarke's novel Rendezvous with Rama opens with a significant asteroid impact in northern Italy in the year 2077 which gives rise to the Spaceguard Project, which later discovers the Rama spacecraft. In 1992 a Congressional study in the U.S. led to NASA being directed to undertake the "Spaceguard Survey", with the novel being named as the inspiration for the name to search for Earth-impacting asteroids. This in turn inspired Clarke's 1993 novel The Hammer of God.
A variation on the traditional impact story was provided by Jack McDevitt's 1999 novel Moonfall, in which a very large comet traveling at interstellar velocities collides with and partially destroys the Moon, fragments of which then collide with the Earth. The 1985 Niven and Pournelle novel Footfall features the examination of the effects of planetary warfare conducted by an alien species that culminates in the use of asteroids to bombard the planet, creating very large craters and the human species' near-extinction. Robert A. Heinlein used the concept of guided meteors in his novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in which Moon rebels use rock-filled shipping containers as a weapon against their Earth oppressors.
Some science fiction has concerned itself not with the specifics of the impact event and/or its prevention or avoidance but its secondary effects on human society. Ben H. Winters' 2012 novel The Last Policeman is set six months prior to an asteroid collision, following a murder investigation that is complicated by the political and cultural responses to the impending event.
Cinema and televisionSeveral disaster films center on actual or threatened impact events. Released during the turbulence of World War I, the Danish feature film The End of the World revolves around the near-miss of a comet which causes fire showers and social unrest in Europe. When Worlds Collide (1951), based on a 1933 novel by Philip Wylie, deals with two planets on a collision course with Earth—the smaller planet a "near miss," causing extensive damage and destruction, followed by a direct hit from the larger planet.
Meteor (1979) features small asteroid fragments and a large 8 km (5 mi)-wide asteroid heading for Earth after being wrenched out of orbit by a collision with a comet. Orbiting U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons platforms are turned away from their respective earthbound targets and toward the incoming threat. The concept for this defense mechanism was taken from a 1968 MIT study called "Project Icarus."
In 1998, two films were released in the United States on the subject of attempting to stop impact events: Paramount/DreamWorks' Deep Impact, about a comet, and Touchstone Pictures' Armageddon, about an asteroid. Both involved using Space Shuttle-derived craft to deliver nuclear weapons to destroy their targets. The 2008 American Broadcasting Company's miniseries Impact deals with a splinter of a brown dwarf hidden in a meteor shower which strikes the Moon and sends it on a collision course with Earth. The 2011 film Melancholia uses the motif of an impact event incorporated in the aesthetics of Romanticism.
- Asteroid capture
- Asteroid impact avoidance
- B612 Foundation
- Earth Impact Database
- Global catastrophic risk
- Impact gardening
- Late Heavy Bombardment
- List of bolides
- List of impact craters on Earth
- List of meteor air bursts
- List of unconfirmed impact craters on Earth
- Near-Earth asteroids
- Near-Earth object
- Near-Earth Object Camera
- Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale
- Potentially hazardous object
- Torino scale, 0 to 10
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- Benton, Michael J. (2003), When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time, New York: Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0-500-05116-X
- Brown, P. G.; Assink, J. D.; Astiz, L.; Blaauw, R.; Boslough, M. B.; Borovička, J.; Brachet, N.; Brown, D.; Campbell-Brown, M.; Ceranna, L.; Cooke, W.; de Groot-Hedlin, C.; Drob, D. P.; Edwards, W.; Evers, L. G.; Garces, M.; Gill, J.; Hedlin, M.; Kingery, A.; Laske, G.; Le Pichon, A.; Mialle, P.; Moser, D. E.; Saffer, A.; Silber, E.; Smets, P.; Spalding, R. E.; Spurný, P.; Tagliaferri, E.; et al. (2013). "A 500-kiloton airburst over Chelyabinsk and an enhanced hazard from small impactors". Nature. 503 (7475): 238–241. Bibcode:2013Natur.503..238B. PMID 24196713. doi:10.1038/nature12741.
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- Stone, R. (August 2008), "Target earth", National Geographic Magazine
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