MNN Galleries

8 asteroids in our solar system

By: Katherine Butler on May 24, 2012, 7:18 p.m.

Photo: NASA/JPL/Cal-Tech

4 of 10

Did this asteroid do in the dinosaurs?

It is believed that a giant asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. A 2007 study suggested that a giant asteroid called Baptistina collided with our solar system’s asteroid belt 160 million years ago. This sent asteroids the size of mountains hurtling through the Earth, ultimately destroying life as the dinosaurs knew it. However, recent observations from NASA’s Wide Infrared Survey Explorer mission reveal that the true age of Baptistina remnants do not line up with the timing of the dinosaur’s demise. Therefore, the “cold case” of what killed the dinosaurs remains open. Pictured here is an artist’s rendering of a broken-up asteroid.