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3.26Bil BC
An asteroid at least 23 miles wide hit Earth about this time triggering global earthquakes and tsunamis across all the world’s oceans. Scientists in 2014 reported that ancient rocks in the Barberton Greenstone of East Africa indicated this to have been one of the most powerful events to ever shape the face of Earth.
Links: Earth, Africa, Asteroid, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
190Mil BC
A 4th mass extinction occurred at the end of the Triassic. Lake Manicouagan in Quebec, a 60-mile crater, was formed by a cosmic impact that may be related to the extinction. Cotylosaurs, a possible missing link between mammals and reptiles, were lost.
Links: Canada, Asteroid, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
66.038Mil BC
About this time a comet struck the area of the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula and created a crater, known today as Chicxulub, about 150-180 miles (200 km) in diameter. The area at this time was covered by ocean. The asteroid was initially believed to have been 6-12 miles (10 km) in diameter. It left a thin layer of iridium in rock strata around the world. Evidence for this was gathered by Luis Alvarez. The asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, about 80% of the world’s plants species and all animals bigger than a cat. In 2002 it also was estimated to have wiped out 55-60% of the plant-eating insects. A high oxygen level may have contributed to a worldwide firestorm. In 1997 Walter Alvarez published "T. Rex and the Crater of Doom," an account of this critical event. The impact was estimated at 5 billion times greater than the atomic bombs of WW II. In 2007 US and Czech researchers used computer simulations to calculate that there was a 90 percent probability that the collision of two asteroids in 160 Mil BC was the event that precipitated the Chicxulub disaster. In 2008 new research using an osmium isotope indicated that the responsible asteroid was about 2.5 miles wide. In 2013 scientists said this date was accurate to give or take 11,000 years.
Links: Mexico, Comet, Dinosaur, Asteroid, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
65Mil BC
Evidence in 2009 suggested that an object some 40km in diameter hit the Earth off the coast if India about this time and forced vast quantities of lava out of the Deccan Traps. The impact was suggested to be responsible for breaking the Seychelles away from India as well as for the dying off of dinosaurs. This impact was named Shiva and is believed to have coincided with the Chicxulub impact in the Yucatan.
Links: India, Dinosaur, Asteroid, HistoryBC     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
16Mil BC
A huge asteroid hit Mars and blasted rock into space about this time. The 1984 meteorite labeled Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 was knocked into space and landed in Antarctica around 11,000BC.
Links: Mars, Antarctica, Asteroid, HistoryBC, Meteor     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1801 Jan 1
Giuseppi Piazzi (d.1826), Italian astronomer, discovered an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. He believed it to be a planet and named it Ceres, after the Roman goddess of the harvest. Ceres was later measured to be about 974km in diameter, roughly the length of Great Britain and 1% the mass of Earth’s moon.
Links: Italy, Astronomy, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968 Jul 25
H. Wroblewski discovered asteroid #1993 Guacolda on exposures by G. Plouguin and I. Belyaiev at the University of Chile, Cerro El Roble Station.
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1969 May 13
Paul Wild, Swiss astronomer, discovered asteroid #1775, Zimmerwald.
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1971
Cornelis van Houten (1920-2002), Dutch astronomer, discovered an asteroid and named it Asteroid 1877 Marsden after British astronomer Brian Marsden.
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1973 Jul 4
Eleanor F. Helin, American astronomer, discovered asteroid #5496.
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1974 Jul 25
T. Smirnova, Russian astronomer, discovered asteroid #2345 Fucik.
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1976 Jan 7
Eleanor Helin of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. discovered the first near Earth asteroid which she named Aten. The orbits of these asteroids lie mostly inside that of the Earth and could at some date collide with the Earth.
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1977 Feb 15
W. Sebok discovered asteroid #2491.
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1978 Jul 4
L.I. Chernykh (b.1935), Russian astronomer, discovered asteroids #3332, #6110 & #7730.
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1978 Jul 28
Perth Observatory discovered asteroid #3188 and #3422.
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1980 Jun 11
E. Bowell discovered asteroid #2531 Cambridge.
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1981 Jul 2
L.E. Gonzalez discovered asteroid #3495, Colchagua, from the astronomical station of Cerro El Roble in Chile.
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1982 Apr 25
E. Bowell discovered asteroids #2688: Halley, #3275: Oberndorfer & #3692.
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1983 Feb 15
Norman Thomas discovered asteroid 3367 Alex, 3413 Andriana, 3525 Paul & 3580.
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1984 Jun 2
B.A. Skiff discovered asteroid #3617.
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1984 Dec 27
Geologist Roberta Score found the Martian meteorite labeled Allan Hills (ALH) 84001 while snowmobiling in the Antarctic. The 4.5 billion year old rock was knocked of Mars by an asteroid some 16 million years earlier and landed in Antarctica some 13,000 years before Score’s find.
Links: USA, Mars, Antarctica, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1986 Jul 4
E F Helin discovered asteroid #3855 Pasasymphonia.
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1986
Asteroid 3753 was discovered. It was later learned that the 6-mile diameter rock maintains an annual orbit around the sun of one year, like Earth and with some assistance from Earth's gravity.
Links: Space, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1994
Tom Gehrels edited "Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids."
Links: Comet, Asteroid, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Feb 17
The NEAR-Shoemaker space craft was launched. The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous craft was scheduled to reach the Eros asteroid in 4 years. NASA planned to land the craft on Eros, a 22 by 8 mile rock, in Feb 2001.
Links: NASA, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1996 Feb
NASA launched a spacecraft to study the asteroid 433 Eros. Project Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) was part of the Discovery program.
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1996 May 15
An asteroid about a third of a mile across was detected and enroute to miss Earth by only 279,000 miles on 5/19/96. Timothy Spar and Carl Hergenrother discovered the asteroid and named it 1996 JA-1. It was traveling at 10 miles per second on a 4-year orbit around the sun.
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1996 May 19
In an astronomical near hit, a large asteroid approached Earth within 279,000 miles, a distance just greater than the moon, in a surprise to astronomers who discovered it in midweek.
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1997 Jan 10
The NASA Near Earth Tracking Program detected an asteroid, AC11, that was about 600 feet across with a sun orbit of 9.5 months. It was the 24th Aten asteroid, a group whose orbits all lie within that of the Earth.
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1997 Feb 18
It was reported that scientists found evidence that upheld the theory of an asteroid hitting the Earth 65 million years ago in seabed drill sediments 300 miles off the coast of northern Florida.
Links: Earth, Florida, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1997 Dec 6
An asteroid was discovered by J.V. Scotti at the Univ. of Arizona. It was recognized as one of 108 potentially hazardous asteroids.
Links: Arizona, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1998 Mar 11
The International Astronomical Union issued an alert, saying a mile-wide asteroid could zip very close to Earth on Oct. 26, 2028, possibly colliding with it. But the next day, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said there was no chance the asteroid will hit Earth.
Links: NASA, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1998 Aug 19
Asteroid 1998 QE2 was discovered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program near Socorro, New Mexico.
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1999 Jan
The Deep Space I probe was expected to shoot past the asteroid named McAuliffe.
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1999 Dec 20
The near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft was scheduled to begin its orbit of the Eros asteroid, a rock about 24 miles by 8 in size.
Links: NASA, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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2000 Feb 14
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft began its orbit around the asteroid Eros.
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2001 Feb 12
The $224 million NEAR-Shoemaker probe was scheduled to end its mission with a landing on the Eros asteroid. The probe completed a 5 year voyage with a successful landing and continued sending signals.
Links: Space, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2001 Oct
A one-day workshop on deflecting asteroids was held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The B612 Foundation formed soon thereafter to promote an asteroid defense system. B612 is the asteroid home of the Little Prince in Antoine de Saint-Exupery's child's story The Little Prince.
Links: USA, NASA, Texas, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2002 Jun 14
Scientist reported on June 21 that an asteroid (2002 MN) the size of a soccer field whizzed by Earth on this day at a distance of 75,000 miles, a third of the distance to the Moon, the biggest such space rock in decades to get this close.
Links: Earth, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2002 Oct 8
Astronomers reported a frozen object beyond Pluto some 800 miles across. They named it Quaoar, after a creation force in Southern California Indian mythology. The Asteroid 50000 Quaoar (2002LM60) was identified in the Kuiper Belt with the Hubble telescope.
Links: Astronomy, Space, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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2002
A group of scientists and former astronauts formed the B612 Foundation, named after the home asteroid of Saint Exupery’s little prince. Their goal was to develop a way to alter the coarse of an asteroid that might be on a collision course with Earth.
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2003 May 9
Japan launched a rocket carrying the Muses-C probe, which planned to make contact with asteroid 1998 SF36 in June of 2005.
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2004 Mar 18
A 100-foot diameter asteroid passed within 26,500 miles of Earth, the closest-ever brush on record by a space rock.
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2004 May 10
An asteroid identified as 2004JG6 was observed inside Earth’s orbit and traveling around the sun every 184 days.
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2004 Sep 29
The asteroid Toutatis, a few kilometers in diameter, came within 1½ million km. of Earth. It was 1st discovered in 1989.
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2005 Aug 11
Scientists reported the discovery of an asteroid with 2 small moons. Asteroid 87 Sylvia was about 175 miles in diameter and circled the sun between the orbits of mars and Jupiter.
Links: Astronomy, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2005 Nov 12
Japan’s Hayabusa probe successfully released its Minerva surface-exploring robot, but Minerva appeared to start drifting away from the asteroid's surface. The space agency said it is targeting actual landings on the potato-shaped asteroid Itokawa on Nov. 19 and Nov. 25. The asteroid was named after Hideo Itokawa, founder of Japan’s space program. Hayabusa was the 1st spacecraft to use an ion engine as its main propulsion device.
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2005 Nov 20
Project manager Junichiro Kawaguchi said Hayabusa, a Japanese spacecraft, has failed to land on the Itokawa asteroid in the 2nd setback for the landmark mission aiming to bring samples from such a celestial body to Earth for the first time. The space agency, after evaluating more data, said on Nov 23 that Hayabusa did land for a half-hour, but failed to collect any material.
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2005 Nov 26
Japan reported that its space probe Hayabusa had landed on the surface of the Itokawa asteroid and then collected rock samples that could give clues to the origin of the solar system. Data on the sample collection was later subject to question.
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2007 Sep 27
In Florida a spacecraft named Dawn blasted off aboard an unmanned Delta rocket on a mission to explore two giant asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn was powered by a trio of solar-powered electric engines that ionize and expel xenon gas. It could serve as a blueprint for future interplanetary transport.
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2008 Sep 5
Rosetta, the European deep space probe launched in 2004, completed a flyby of the Steins asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
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2008 Oct 10
Jim Benson (b.1945), software entrepreneur and founder of SpaceDev (1997), died. He had hoped to build rockets to colonize asteroids.
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2009 Mar 2
An asteroid named 2009 DD45, about the size of one that blasted Siberia a century ago, buzzed by Earth. It measured between 69 feet and 154 feet in diameter and came to 48,800 miles from Earth.
Links: Earth, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2009 Oct 7
Pedro Elias Zadunaisky (b.1917), Argentine astronomer and mathematician, died. His calculations helped determine the orbit of Saturn's outermost moon, Phoebe, as well as Halley's Comet.
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2010 Apr 8
An asteroid, called 2010 GA6, flew within the orbit of the moon as it passed Earth at 7:06 p.m. EDT (2306 GMT). The relatively small space rock, about 71 feet (22m) wide was discovered by astronomers with the Catalina Sky Survey in Tucson, Az.
Links: Earth, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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2010 Apr 15
President Barack Obama set a goal to visit an asteroid by 2025. Obama outlined NASA's new path during a visit to the Kennedy Space Center.
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2010 Apr 28
Scientists reported that infrared analysis of asteroid 24 Themis indicated that it contained evidence of water ice as well as organic compounds. Themis, a 120-mile wide asteroid, stood as one of the largest in the solar system.
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2011 Jun 27
A rock, named asteroid 2011 MD, zoomed by just 7,500 miles (12,000 km) above Earth, making a sharp turn forced by gravity before winging off into space again. The flyby occurred at about 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).
Links: Earth, Asteroid     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
2011 Jul 16
Dawn, a NASA spacecraft, went into orbit around Vesta, an asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. After a year it was expected to leave Vesta and head for the asteroid Ceres.
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2011 Jul 19
NASA made available the first image of the asteroid Vesta shot from its Dawn spacecraft, 117 million miles from Earth.
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