An impact event is a collision between astronomical objects causing measurable effects. Impact events have physical consequences and have been found to regularly occur in planetary systems, though the most frequent involve asteroids, comets or meteoroids and have minimal effect. When large objects impact terrestrial planets such as the Earth, there can be significant physical and biospheric consequences, though atmospheres mitigate many surface impacts through atmospheric entry. Impact craters and structures are dominant landforms on many of the Solar System’s solid objects and present the strongest empirical evidence for their frequency and scale :
Impact events appear to have played a significant role in the evolution of the Solar System since its formation. Major impact events have significantly shaped Earth’s history, and have been implicated in the formation of the Earth–Moon system, the evolutionary history of life, the origin of water on Earth and several mass extinctions.
Major impact events have significantly shaped Earth’s history, having been implicated in the formation of the Earth–Moon system, the evolutionary history of life, the origin of water on Earth, and several mass extinctions. Impact structures are the result of impact events on solid objects and, as the dominant landforms on many of the System’s solid objects, present the most solid evidence of prehistoric events. Notable impact events include the hypothesized Late Heavy Bombardment, which would have occurred early in the history of the Earth–Moon system, and the confirmed Chicxulub impact 66 million years ago, believed to be the cause of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.