Scientists report that the meteorite that rocked Russia early last year may have been sent on a collision course with Earth after smacking into another asteroid as long as 290 million years ago. It’s estimated that the parent asteroid — a much larger object from which the so-called Chelyabinsk meteor broke off — impacted another asteroid in space at anywhere from 800 to 3,350 miles per hour (1,440 – 5,400 km/h). That second asteroid, according to the hypothesis, was at least 500 feet (150m) in diameter, and the impact sent the final 65-foot (20m) wide meteor in Earth’s direction.
Researchers have not concluded that an asteroid impact caused the meteorite to head towards Earth, they have hypothesized that such events could explain the presence of jadeite in the meteorite. This article has been modified to make the distinction clearer.