Have you heard about asteroids before? They are big chunks of rocks that float in space at random. Asteroids are made of carbon, silicon and other metals.
Do you know that a collision with an asteroid can end all life on earth?
Hey, hey, no need to panic now! Scientists have confirmed that the chances of such an event are very slim.
But it is important that people like you and me who are living on Earth should at least have a basic idea on how asteroids behave and how we can save our planet – and life on earth – from killer Asteroids.
Asteroids are mostly found in the Asteroid Belt that exists between Mars and Jupiter. Some of them share the same orbit of Jupiter, either moving ahead of it or following it from behind.
We don’t have to fear much about asteroids that move ‘attached’ to the Asteroid Belt because their trajectories are clearly identified by scientists. A trajectory is the specific orbital journey of any space object.
But then there are random asteroids that appear from nowhere and pass through our solar system without any kind of early warning! By the time you spot them, it’s too late!
These unknown asteroids pose the greatest threat to the existence of our planet.
Let’s say we detect the approach of such an asteroid through our telescopes today. It would take at least five years of preparation before a mission to intercept that asteroid could be launched!
In that sense we are very helpless to protect ourselves against a catastrophe that can be caused by an asteroid falling on Earth…
Kids Fun Facts Corner
# 1. The difference between an asteroid and a meteoroid is all about size. A meteoroid usually has a diameter of one meter or less whereas the diameter of an asteroid maybe many miles across!
# 2. The difference between an asteroid and a comet is all about what they are made of! While asteroids are mainly composed of mineral and rock, comets are primarily composed of dust and ice.
# 3. The largest asteroid discovered so far is Ceres in the Asteroid Belt. Its diameter is nearly 1000km! Ceres is also the first asteroid to be discovered in space history.
# 4. Asteroids are a type of minor planets. Other types of minor planets are dwarf planets, trojans, centaurs, Kuiper belt objects, and other trans-Neptunian objects.
# 5. United Nations declared 30th of June every year as International Asteroid Day to educate the public about asteroids.
Q. Does an asteroid possess the capability to destroy Earth?
Q. Approximately how much time scientists on Earth would require to prepare to intercept an asteroid?
Q. What’s the difference between an asteroid and a meteoroid?
Q. What’s the difference between an asteroid and a comet?
Q. When is the International Asteroid Day?
Download questions about planets here: Astriods (answers are on this page)
Teachers. For more in depth work sheets on asteroids. Click on Kidskonnect. Worksheets
For further reading and more information on asteroid belts visit https://space-facts.com/asteroids/
This article was guest written by Chinthaka Nanayakkara @ Write Support. Write Support is an Organiser of Mini e-book Writing Projects.
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