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For the past 290 million years, large asteroids have been crashing into Earth more than twice as often as they did in the previous 700 million years, according to a new study in Thursday’s journal Science .
But no need to cast a wary glance up. Asteroids still only smack Earth on average every million or few million years, even with the increased crash rate. NASA’s list of potential big space rock crashes shows no pending major threats. The biggest known risk is a 4,200-foot (1.3-km) wide asteroid with a 99.988 percent chance that it will miss Earth when it whizzes very near here in 861 years.
Tell that to the dinosaurs. Most scientists think dinosaurs and a lot of other species went extinct after a huge space rock crashed into Central America about 65 million years ago.
“It’s just a game of probabilities,” said study lead author Sara Mazrouei, a University of Toronto planetary scientist. “These events are still rare and far between that I’m not too worried about it.”