What You Need To Know About Asteroids and Other Near-Earth Objects

4 mins read

Have burning questions about asteroids? NASA experts have answers!

(Spoiler Alert: none of them will hit Earth.)

Our solar system is littered with asteroids and comets and sometimes they get a little close to Earth. When an asteroid or comet looks like it could come near our home planet, we keep close watch to warn of any potential impacts.

Video Transcript:

Here’s what you need to know about near-Earth objects.

Our solar system is littered with asteroids and comets, and sometimes they get a little close to Earth.

But no need to worry.

This happens all the time.

When an asteroid or comet could come close to our planet, it’s known as a near-Earth object, AKA NEO.

But how close is “close”?

A near-Earth object is defined as an object that could pass by our Earth within 30 million miles!

NASA begins to keep close watch on objects that could pass within 5 million miles of our planet. To put that in perspective, our Moon is only 238,900 miles away.

However unlikely an impact is, NASA wants to know about all near-Earth objects.

The space agency’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office maintains watch for asteroids and comets coming close to Earth in order to warn of any potential impacts. Along with its partners, they discover, catalog, and characterize these bodies.

But what if one of these objects posed a threat?

We want to be prepared.

That’s why NASA is working on several deflection techniques and technologies to help protect our planet.

So next time that you hear of an asteroid passing “close” to Earth, know that it’s just one of many that NASA is tracking.

And that’s what you need to know about near-Earth objects.

Explore Solar System & Beyond

NASA

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