The Kate Edger Department of Mathematics

Earth Impactors

Modelling how often asteroids and other small bodies hit Earth.


On February 4, 2011, the asteroid 2011 CQ1 passed within 5,480 kilometres of Earth's surface. Fortunately 2011 CQ1 was just one metre in diameter and would have caused little damage if it had hit Earth. This is not so with larger asteroids such as those several hundred metres in diameter. If they hit Earth, they typically blast out a crater 10 to 20 times their diameter and kill most living things within a circle whose diameter is two orders of magnitude greater than the diameter of the asteroid.


This project involves using innovative numerical methods and high performance computing to estimate how often asteroids of a given size hit Earth."


University of Auckland Researchers





  • William Newman, UCLA
  • Bruce Bills, Jet Propulsion Laboratory