The Acraman crater, Australia
© USGS/Nasa Landsat data/Orbital Horizon/Gallo Images/Getty image
Will we be ready for the ‘big one?’. Asteroid Day
Today is Asteroid Day, and it’s a reminder that as our planet follows its path around the Sun, it encounters a lot of stuff. Science tells us that, every day, Earth’s atmosphere is hit with roughly 100 tonnes of dust and particles the size of grains of sand. And every year, at least 30 small meteors make it through, only to burn up before touching the ground. Nasa says it’s pretty much guaranteed that at least one of them will be about the size of a car. As time progresses, the likelihood increases that even larger celestial rocks will hit the ground and cause significant damage.
Across the globe there are plenty of reminders of this in the form of craters, like the one in today’s photo. The Acraman crater is a point of impact in South Australia. It’s believed to have been created about 590 million years ago when hit by an asteroid that could have been up to 56 miles wide. For comparison, the asteroid thought to have killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago was 6.2 miles across. Nasa says that an asteroid the size of a football field would cause significant damage. One that could really threaten civilisation hits every few million years. Hopefully, with Asteroid Day being observed across 78 countries since its inception in 2015, we’ll be prepared if the ‘big one’ shows up.