A NASA mission has caused scientists to question which asteroid family was responsible for killing the dinosaurs.
Information from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission indicates that remnants from the Baptistina asteroid did not, in fact, hit the Earth and subsequently wipe out the dinosaurs as previously believed.
While scientists still believe that a large asteroid crashed into the Earth approximately 65 million years ago, they have ruled out the Baptistina asteroid remnant as the culprit.
As a result of the WISE science team's investigation, the demise of the dinosaurs remains in the cold case files, NASA's Near Earth Object (NEO) Observation Program executive Lindley Johnson said in a NASA statement. With infrared light, WISE was able to get a more accurate estimate, which throws the timing of the Baptistina theory into question.
The scientists credit advanced technology for the ability to reach this conclusion. WISE's predecessor was the Infrared Astronomical Satellite.
WISE, according to NASA, is hundreds of times greater in terms of sensitivity.
Now scientists want to figure out which asteroid was responsible for killing the dinosaurs.
We are working on creating an asteroid family tree of sorts, lead author Joseph Masiero said in a NASA statement. We are starting to refine our picture of how the asteroids in the main belt smashed together and mixed up.