ASTEROIDS
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Ancient Space Rubble
Asteroids are rocky fragments left over from the formation our the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Most of these chunks of space rubble, sometimes called minor planets, can be found orbiting the Sun in a belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The Asteroid Belt or Main Belt probably contains millions of asteroids.

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  About Asteroids Moons Facts & Figures Missions FAQ


Asteroids orbit the sun in region of space known as the asteroid belt, which is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

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Yes, but they do not pose a threat to life on Earth. About once a year an automobile-sized asteroid enters Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball and disintegrates before ever reaching the surface.

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It is believed that a giant asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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The largest asteroid is asteroid Ceres at about 952 km (592 miles) in diameter. Ceres is so large that it is also categorized as a dwarf planet.

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Asteroids range in size from about 952 km (592 miles) in diameter (asteroid Ceres), to bodies that are less than 1 km (0.6 mile) across.

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Several NASA space missions have flown and observed asteroids. The NEAR Shoemaker mission landed on an asteroid in 2001 and NASA's Dawn mission was the first mission to orbit an asteroid (2011).

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Possibly, however there are no planned human missions to an asteroid at this time.

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Yes. More than 150 asteroids are known to have a small companion moon (some have two moons).

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No, asteroids do not fit the criteria set forth by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for a planet. However, one asteroid (Ceres) within the asteroid belt is considered a dwarf planet.

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Asteroids are believed to be mostly composed of clay, silicate and nickel-iron.

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Yes, two missions have landed on two different asteroids. NEAR Shoemaker (NASA) landed on asteroid Eros in 2001 and Hayabusa (JAXA) landed on asteroid Itokawa in 2005.

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Asteroids orbit the sun in region of space known as the asteroid belt, which is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

More Information

Yes, but they do not pose a threat to life on Earth. About once a year an automobile-sized asteroid enters Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball and disintegrates before ever reaching the surface.

More Information

It is believed that a giant asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

More Information

The largest asteroid is asteroid Ceres at about 952 km (592 miles) in diameter. Ceres is so large that it is also categorized as a dwarf planet.

More Information

Asteroids range in size from about 952 km (592 miles) in diameter (asteroid Ceres), to bodies that are less than 1 km (0.6 mile) across.

More Information

Several NASA space missions have flown and observed asteroids. The NEAR Shoemaker mission landed on an asteroid in 2001 and NASA's Dawn mission was the first mission to orbit an asteroid (2011).

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Possibly, however there are no planned human missions to an asteroid at this time.

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Yes. More than 150 asteroids are known to have a small companion moon (some have two moons).

More Information

No, asteroids do not fit the criteria set forth by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) for a planet. However, one asteroid (Ceres) within the asteroid belt is considered a dwarf planet.

More Information

Asteroids are believed to be mostly composed of clay, silicate and nickel-iron.

More Information

Yes, two missions have landed on two different asteroids. NEAR Shoemaker (NASA) landed on asteroid Eros in 2001 and Hayabusa (JAXA) landed on asteroid Itokawa in 2005.

More Information

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