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Asteroids: impact with Earth

  • If an asteroid crashes through Earth's surface, it is then called a meteorite.
  • For an asteroid to cause a global panic it has to be more than a quarter-mile wide, an impact from an asteroid this size would cause dust to raise into the atmosphere and thus creating a "nuclear winter"
  • However, smaller asteroids are believed to strike Earth every 1,000-10,000 years; and the most dangerous asteroids are extremely rare.

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The discovery and naming of asteroids

  • In 1801, Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the first and largest asteroid, Ceres, orbiting between Mars and Jupiter (Today it is classified as both an asteroid and a dwarf planet)
  • In 1802, William...

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Categorizing asteroids

The different types of asteroids are:

  • Main belt asteroids - Lies in between Mars and Jupiter; holds more than 200 asteroids
  • Trojan asteroids - found outside the main belt; usually orbits larger planets
  • Near-Earth asteroids (...

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The formation of asteroids

Asteroids are what's left after the formation of our solar system from billions of years ago.

It is believed that the reason why they were formed were because of the birth of Jupiter. Its birth hindered any planetary bodies to form in the space between Mars and Jupiter, wh...

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Asteroid defense

We can observe an asteroid by observing them through a radar. The radar can reveal its size, shape, and whether it is two objects.

In the unlikely event that an asteroid is deemed a threat, NASA has inventions to effectively diffuse them such as:

  • Kinetic Impactor

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Asteroids

Asteroids

  • Asteroids are rocks which revolve around the sun. They are usually too small to be considered as a planet since they can be as small as 2 meters but they can be as big as 940 kilometers across.
  • Asteroids are also known as planetoids or minor planets

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Asteroid exploration timeline

  • 1991 - NASA's Galileo was able to take close-up images of asteroids
  • 1994 - Discovered the first moon to orbit an asteroid
  • 2001 - Landed a spacecrafts successfully on Near-Earth Asteroid Eros
  • 2006

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Asteroids helped create life

Amusingly, the collisions that could possibly bring death to us may be the reason we are alive today.

When Earth was formed it was unable to support growth and desolate. Asteroid and comet collisions may have delivered the water-ice and other carbon-based molecules that al...

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