Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Space Science

Hole in Asteroid Belt Reveals Extinction Asteroid 175

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-the-big-one dept.
eldavojohn writes "Further evidence for the asteroid mass extinction theory has been discovered as a break in the main asteroid belt of our solar system. From the article, "A joint U.S.-Czech team from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Charles University in Prague suggests that the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina disrupted when it was hit by another large asteroid, creating numerous large fragments that would later create the Chicxulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula as well as the prominent Tycho crater found on the Moon.""
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hole in Asteroid Belt Reveals Extinction Asteroid

Comments Filter:
  • by click2005 (921437) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @10:44PM (#20489401)
    a break in the main asteroid belt of our solar system

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster was making meatballs gets my vote.
  • by nizo (81281) * on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @10:46PM (#20489411) Homepage Journal
    At approximately 170 kilometers in diameter and having characteristics similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, the Baptistina parent body resided in the innermost region of the asteroid belt when it was hit by another asteroid estimated to be 60 kilometers in diameter. This catastrophic impact produced what is now known as the Baptistina asteroid family, a cluster of asteroid fragments with similar orbits.


    Ok lets all hope we don't get another visit from the hit men of our solar system, the Baptistina family.

  • by paleo2002 (1079697) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @10:48PM (#20489427)

    If you want your obscure research paper to receive mainstream media coverage and net you loads of grant money, be sure to link your work to one or more of the following "hot topics":

    meteor impact

    dinosaurs

    mass extinction

    global warming

    DNA

    obesity

    energy efficient cars

    OK, fine. There's a gap in the asteroid belt indicating that several large objects were knocked loose some time in the past few million years. And, yes, those objects will be most likely to fall towards the Sun and insect the orbits of the inner planets. That doesn't mean you've found where the infamous dinosaur-killing meteor came from. That's pure speculation! That gap could just as easily been left by the meteor that caused the P/Tr extinction or by a meteor that hit Venus.

    • Sun and intersect the orbits of the inner planets
      There. Now I can sleep better.
      • Sun and intersect the orbits of the inner planets
        There. Now I can sleep better.

        I thought he meant that asteriods buzz around planets like flies.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)
      If you want your obscure research paper to receive mainstream media coverage and net you loads of grant money,

      Yeah, because, as we all know, organizations dole out grant money based solely on the headlines they see scrolling by on the CNN ticker...
    • Speculation, perhaps, though exactly pure. They've got some data to back up their claims.

      From the article: "Studies of sediment samples and a meteorite from this time period indicate that the Chicxulub impactor had a carbonaceous chondrite composition much like the well-known primitive meteorite Murchison. This composition is enough to rule out many potential impactors but not those from the Baptistina family. Using this information in their simulations, the team found a 90 percent probability that the o
    • If you want strangers to think you are smart, just remember to label an ongoing topic of discussion as Sensationalism, and link it to a list of other subjects that you sarcastically mark as "Hot Topics".

      That way, your destructive attitude (similar in many ways to the destructive force of the asteroids in the topic) will make you *appear* like you actually know something.

      Now, I'm sure that you read the friggin article. Since none of us were there to see the impact in the asteroid belt, you are correct in th
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kupek (75469)
      You said, emphasis mine,

      If you want your obscure research paper to receive mainstream media coverage and net you loads of grant money, be sure to link your work to one or more of the following "hot topics":

      From the physorg write up,

      The article, "An asteroid breakup 160 Myr ago as the probable source of the K/T impactor," was published in the Sept. 6 issue of Nature.

      If you don't understand why this juxtaposition is funny, then you're not qualified to make fun of anyone's scientific research.

  • by SolusSD (680489)
    An asteroid didn't kill the dinosaurs!! They died at the hand of His noodley appendage! And the asteroids are meatballs.
  • I RTFA cause I'm curious about this hole but... Why is the title like that? Did the thousands of big asteriods created by the collision of these two produced a hole?

    A title "Baptistina family killed the dinosaurs" would be more precise...
  • by haakondahl (893488) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:26PM (#20489719)
    It didn't create sunspots and the Great Red Spot? I think these folks are not imaginative enough.
  • by abbamouse (469716) on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:31PM (#20489783) Homepage
    I wonder if this means that our current strategy of tracking asteroids to see if they will impact Earth is the wrong one. Perhaps no asteroids "naturally" hit Earth on their present trajectories. If it takes a collision within the asteroid belt to throw out material that impacts Earth, maybe we should be trying to track the movements of large asteroids to see if they will intersect EACH OTHER rather than Earth.

    I may be misunderstanding the data, and I would never change policy based on a single study, but this suggests that a more sophisticated approach is needed to detect potential impactors.
    • by bidule (173941)

      Yes, of course! Because once quasi-collision changes an asteroid orbit, we only have a few million years left before it gets within lunar orbit!

      • by abbamouse (469716)
        Do we know this? I'm no astronomer, so I don't. Just how much can an orbit be altered by a collision? (Or at least, one that doesn't pulverize both objects).
        • by mcrbids (148650)
          Do we know this? I'm no astronomer, so I don't. Just how much can an orbit be altered by a collision? (Or at least, one that doesn't pulverize both objects).

          I'm no astronomer either, but we can run some numbers found a la Google and give ourselves some reasonable estimates. Anybody who IS an astronomer is free to correct my numbers, but my intention is merely a "back of the napkin" class estimate.

          How fast does an asteroid travel? The average speed of an asteroid is 25km/second. [imsa.edu] Since I'm am American, to me
          • by mattr (78516)
            No. As mentioned in TFA, the asteroid fragments are expected to have ridden on the "interplanetary superhighway" which though not described is a network of paths throughout the solar system that things like spaceships and apparently asteroids can ride on without requiring additional energy. So they got onto a gravitational path that brought them to the Earth. There seem to be a limited number of these paths so the risk is high not low. Anyway the superhighway was found by Martin Lo who used it on the Genesi
            • by mcrbids (148650)
              Cool. So let me turn the question around on you - when was the last known extinction-level event as a result of an asteroid or comet? Has it been over 30,000 years? Has it been over 300,000 years? or 3,000,000 years? Or even 30,000,000 years? (yes to all the above, if you were paying attention)

              Perhaps the risk isn't as high as your "interplanetary superhighway" leads you to believe?

              Based on emperical evidence, my napkin trumps your TFA.

              Cheers! =)
              • by mattr (78516)
                No reason to be facetious. That was the quote from TFA and there is real science behind the superhighway or whatever you want to call the gravitational assist network found by Martin Lo for slow, low energy transfers.

                I'm not screaming chicken little, though I think it is the kind of thing where you don't really know the risk until you spend the money to investigate. Like these guys did. Last week astronomers found a huge number of the nearby galaxies are all pointed the same way, who would have imagined tha
          • by Don853 (978535)
            Ok, I'm a huge fan of back of the envelope math. But... the asteroid belt is more of a torus than a sphere, and likely the impacted asteroids would stay on about the same plane, so you wouldn't be concerned about the whole of the sphere of earth's orbit. Also, the cross sectional area of the earth is pi*r*r, not 2*pi*r, that's the circumference.. also, the collision won't send the asteroid on a one-way path into the inner solar system, it'll put it an elliptical orbit, so it'll pass in or out of the earth
    • by Trogre (513942)
      So what you're saying is - God might be going for a trick shot?

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @02:25AM (#20491023)
      The idea is that these collisions increase the number of asteroids that cross our orbit and can therefore have a chance of hitting us. It takes a while though. We don't really care about something that might hit us 160 million years from now. We care about something that might hit us say, this century. So we look at the ones that are already whizzing around in our neighborhood.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ChrisA90278 (905188)
      Yes it's the collisions that will toss debris at us. But the time between the collision and the debris hitting us would be between millions of years or "only" a few centuries. What we need to care about is the debris from collisions that occurred long ago. But a collision would be very interesting to observe for other reasons but I'd gues they are very rare and one may not happen while humans live on Earth.
  • There is certainly a place for theories that propose that Tycho is an impact crater, and it's a very good thing that people are actually proposing simulations in an attempt to explain what we see. The idea that catastrophe plays an important role in our surroundings has increasingly become accepted. But, what do the astrophysical heretics say about Tycho? Only by listening to what they say can we play devil's advocate with this particular simulation ...

    [...]

    The astronomers' consensus today is that the st

    • Umm, hang on, offset rays can in theory be explained by impact. Consider whether the primary body that impacted the centre of Tycho was alone, or had friends -- I think a fractured body of smaller mass accompaning the main body, with an impact point slightly off-centre of the main body (still remaining within the Tycho crater) could explain a ray that has a non-concentric origin? A comparison of the size of the concentric-origin vs. the nonconcentric origin rays, plus any of the main crater's divergence f
    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @01:10AM (#20490567) Journal
      We've actually witnessed collisions in space. And found evidence on earth for them. We've never seen any evidence for electrical arcs between heavenly bodies that would cause craters. So that at least implies that they are more rare, if they are possible. scientists discount interpretations of observations that are not supported by other observations. That is it. Only when an event cannot be explained by any existing model formed from previous observations, will they resort to wild guessing ( see string theory, multiple universe theory, etc).
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by pln2bz (449850) *

        We've actually witnessed collisions in space. And found evidence on earth for them. We've never seen any evidence for electrical arcs between heavenly bodies that would cause craters.

        This sounds a bit pseudo-skeptical to me. Are you aware that many of the images by the impactor in the Deep Impact mission clearly demonstrated numerous points of white-out? Check this out ...

        http://deepimpact.umd.edu/gallery/wipeout.html [umd.edu]

        Either you believe everything that NASA interprets in its images as word of God, or there

        • I salute you! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Gazzonyx (982402)
          Just watched the videos on YouTube. Thank you, sir. I was going to do stuff tonight before you had to go and get me off on this tangent for several hours. Intriguing stuff; it's a pity people won't let themselves ask "what if our theories are wrong?".

          I'm not sure that I fully support this model, but it makes a lot of sense, and as usual the mainstream view is, "this isn't what I was told it right, so it's wrong. I'll arrogantly wave my hand, attack peoples character, resort to name calling, and make

          • by pln2bz (449850) *
            EU Theorists can hold their ground quite well in a debate with professional astrophysicists when the rules are fair. The fair rules requirement pretty much rules out most discussions on the Bad Astronomy Forum. You can view a loose attempt at a debate here:

            http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB/phpBB2/vi ewtopic.php?t=410 [thunderbolts.info]

            ScienceApologist is the person who has been censoring EU Theory from wikipedia. The discussion gets quite thick at times, but I recommend paying close attention to the way that Science
        • by kindbud (90044)
          Has any radio burst ever been detected from one of these electrical arcs? Does the electrical arc hypothesis account for shatter cones?
        • Ok, I think I understand where you are coming from let me summarize:

          Some craters are obviously created by impacts with meteors, comments or any other solid body.

          There are some unusual features to some craters that can not be explained by our current theory of solid body impacts

          Electrical phenomenon could explain these features



          Is this what we are talking about? Do you agree with these points?
          • by pln2bz (449850) *

            Ok, I think I understand where you are coming from let me summarize:

            Some craters are obviously created by impacts with meteors, comments or any other solid body.

            There are some unusual features to some craters that can not be explained by our current theory of solid body impacts

            Electrical phenomenon could explain these features

            Is this what we are talking about? Do you agree with these points?

            Yeah, that's pretty close. Within certain filters, the rays that emanate from Aristarchus look like a Lichtenberg pat

        • by barakn (641218)

          Either you believe everything that NASA interprets in its images as word of God, or there is the possibility that those white-outs are electrical arcs.

          I took a look at the image you linked to [umd.edu]. The "white-out" in the lower part of the image is casting a shadow on the surface beneath it (one part in fact looks like a cave) but also the white area itself is darkened in one area, suggesting that it is shadowed. The white area is thus not a source of light but is rather simply reflecting sun light. A more pr

          • by pln2bz (449850) *

            The "white-out" in the lower part of the image is casting a shadow on the surface beneath it (one part in fact looks like a cave) but also the white area itself is darkened in one area, suggesting that it is shadowed.

            It is well established that electric arcing occurs between the two closest parts of any two surfaces. That's why lightning rods are generally effective at protecting buildings. In the case of the Moon, actually, the Tycho and Aristarchus craters just so happen to be two of the tallest feature

            • by barakn (641218)
              Ah, you didn't explain yourself very well, leading me to assume that you were saying the whiteouts were the electrical arcs themselves. By reading the pdf I understand that these white areas are patches that have been etched by electrical arcs. But elsewhere in the very same document it says that "Intermittent and wandering arcs erode the surface and burn it black, leaving the distinctive scarring patterns of electric discharges." How very convenient. No matter what color the feature is you will claim i
    • by barakn (641218)

      No experimental explosion at any scale has ever produced anything comparable to the well-defined 1500-kilometer "rays" of Tycho.

      With a plastic tub, a marble, and a dollar's worth of white flour and cocoa powder one can quite easily create a replica of Tycho's rays. Even better examples are the man-made impact craters on the moon at the bottom of this page [nasa.gov]. One in particular, created by an Apollo 14 rocket stage, shows not only rays [nasa.gov] but also a central peak [nasa.gov].

      I also find this picture [radiochemistry.org] of the Sedan nuclear te

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pln2bz (449850) *
        These are all good points, but I think the key to that sentence was the fact that the rays do not change in width over the course of 1500 kilometers. That is somewhat enigmatic. We see this sort of thing in space too: vortexes that are able to retain their shape over numerous light years. Although we can certainly postulate mechanical processes that could possibly explain this, it is not giving credit to what we know of electrodynamics to ignore that these are also the hallmarks of electrical activity.
    • There are so many assumptions being made to get to the point of creating such simulations that it's easy to forget that each assumption has its own history, and the entire simulation's legitimacy depends on the survival of each of these individual assumptions.
      Very well stated. This is perhaps the best statement that explains and is the reason behind why I dislike some of the various sciences, and want them to state their assumptions up front in their papers, etc.
      • by pln2bz (449850) *
        You won't understand what the assumptions are until you read what the heretics are saying. Mainstream astrophysicists have unilaterally decided that their burden is nothing more than to prove the mainstream theories. Stating their assumptions would tend to reveal that their theories are based upon a lot more assumptions than people realize, which would tend to cast doubt on the very papers that are being published. This is why we absolutely need heretics in science.
        • You won't understand what the assumptions are until you read what the heretics are saying. Mainstream astrophysicists have unilaterally decided that their burden is nothing more than to prove the mainstream theories. Stating their assumptions would tend to reveal that their theories are based upon a lot more assumptions than people realize, which would tend to cast doubt on the very papers that are being published. This is why we absolutely need heretics in science.

          I'm not simply talking about astrophyics

  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Wednesday September 05, 2007 @11:47PM (#20489893) Homepage
    I kind of expect in the future when we have ships cheap/reliable enough for regular exploration of the solar system one of our future generations does something stupid by knocking some asteroid out of whack leading to a chain reaction that causes some big space catastrophe. Then we will have space traffic laws and all that other stuff.
  • by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @12:01AM (#20489985) Homepage
    Further evidence for the asteroid mass extinction theory has been discovered as a break in the main asteroid belt of our solar system.

    This is just like slashdot, submitters and editors never thinking about those of us on extra-solar planets in the Andromeda Galaxy. Everyone in the Milky Way is so planetary-centric. Would adding the extra clarification take long? No, and it would save a lot of headaches... seriously, I've got six heads out here too, do you realize how much Tylenol©®(TM) it takes to kill the pain?
    • "do you realize how much Tylenol©®(TM) it takes to kill the pain?"

      No, but I do realize you also have intelectual property laws there. Must have took a long time to develop that faster than light communication system.

  • ...in this pre-9/11 world [wikipedia.org].

    70 years and five days to go.
  • Sephiroth did it.
  • I had this weird dream about a week ago, where I ran into these mask-wearing aliens whose masks were apparently life support devices (despite them being more like theater masks than conventional breathing masks). The reason they needed the masks was because 67 million years ago, they had colonized Earth, whose atmosphere at the time could support their form of life, but they needed to do some terraforming. Unfortunately, the terraforming resulted in catastrophic changes to the atmosphere that made the pla
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)
      Yes, try to really understand this vision of yours, on a soul level, and I believe it will be guidance enough for the road ahead but just in case you need a little inspiration here are some pointers.

      1) The Earth was habitable for these, assume that they are, near perfect aliens - perhaps call them Angel or something until something happened. Since the Angels are surely perfect it's likely that with a closer inspection you'll see your vision revealed to you that some other agency was involved in ruining the
  • by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@gamerslas ... .com minus berry> on Thursday September 06, 2007 @04:19AM (#20491607) Homepage Journal
    He also created hemorrhoids.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It was Lord Vader and his super Star Destroyer blasting the hole through while chasing the Falcon.
  • by moeinvt (851793) on Thursday September 06, 2007 @09:52AM (#20493765)
    We'll see more holes appear in the belt as the universe expands.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BenBoy (615230)
      > We'll see more holes appear in the belt as the universe expands. Funny, I usually put more holes in my belt when my universe contracts; when it expands, I let it out a bit ...

"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds." -- J. Finnegan, USC.

Working...