NASA Science Live: International Asteroid Day | Summary and Q&A

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June 30, 2021
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NASA
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NASA Science Live: International Asteroid Day

TL;DR

NASA scientists discuss upcoming missions and technologies aimed at studying and protecting Earth from asteroids, highlighting the variety and importance of these rocky artifacts.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Why does NASA study asteroids?

Asteroids provide valuable information about the formation and history of the solar system, and studying them helps us understand our own planet's origins.

Q: Are all asteroids the same?

No, asteroids formed at varying distances from the sun and have different compositions, sizes, and shapes, providing unique insights into the diversity of processes that occurred in our solar system.

Q: Do any of the asteroids studied by spacecraft pose a hazard to Earth?

Currently, none of the asteroids visited by spacecraft pose a specific hazard to Earth. However, about 100 tons of extraterrestrial material falls on Earth every day, mostly as harmless dust.

Q: How does NASA find and characterize near-earth objects?

NASA uses powerful telescopes on the ground and in space to find and track asteroids. Scientists calculate the orbit and size of asteroids and make follow-up observations to determine their composition.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Asteroids are remnants of the solar system's formation, and studying them can provide insights into the history and formation of our solar system.

  • NASA has multiple spacecraft studying asteroids because they are not all the same, with each bearing the fingerprints of distinct processes that occurred in different parts of the solar system.

  • There are no known asteroid threats to Earth in the next 100 years, but NASA is actively searching for asteroids and developing technologies for deflection if necessary.

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