Asteroids are rocky, metallic bodies orbiting the sun in the band of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. They are remnants of unused material in the formation of the planets of the solar system.
Characteristics of asteroids are:
- They’re rocky, metal bodies.
- They orbit around the Sun in the band of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter.
- They are remnants of unused material in the formation of the planets of the solar system.
- They can have different sizes, from small ones like pebbles to as big as small planets.
- They have elliptical orbits and can be both pieces and fragments of comets or asteroids.
- They can be carbonaceous, silica or metallic
- Some can be potentially dangerous because of their proximity to Earth.
- They can be used as a source of resources for human space exploration.
- They have a variety of shapes and sizes, due to rotation and collisions.
- They can contain valuable information about the formation and evolution of the solar system.
How do they get together?
Asteroids form from unused material in the formation of the planets of the solar system.
During the formation of the solar system, about 4.6 billion years ago, the matter in the gas and dust disc surrounding the Sun began to come together and compact itself to form planets.
However, not all the matter was used to form planets, and some fragments of rock and metal remained in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Some asteroids may also form from the fragmentation of other asteroids due to collisions.
Asteroids can also be pieces or fragments of comets that disintegrated due to the influence of the heat and the Sun’s gravity.
In short, asteroids are formed by the accumulation of rocky and metallic material not used in the formation of planets, and can also come from the fragmentation of other celestial bodies.
Types of asteroids
There are several types of asteroids, classified mainly according to their chemical and mineralogical composition. Some of the most common types are:
- Carbonaceae: They are the oldest asteroids and are characterized by a high carbon, silicates and iron content.
- Silicate: they are mainly composed of silicates and iron.
- Metallics: mainly contain iron and nickel.
- Stone-iron: they are a mixture of rock and iron.
- Spectrals: are classified according to their spectrum and divided into three types: C, S and X.
- Type V asteroids: they are those that have comet-like spectral characteristics and are believed to be comet fragments.
- Trojan asteroids: they are those who share the orbit of a planet and are found in the Lagrange points of a planet.
- Apollo asteroids: they are those that have orbits that cross the Earth’s orbit.
- Asteroids Aten: They are those who have orbits with a point of proximity to the Sun closer to Earth’s orbit.
In general, most asteroids belong to the types C, S and X, while Type V, Trojans, Apollo and Aten asteroids are less common.
- The largest known asteroid is Ceres, with a diameter of 940 km. Ceres is also considered the only main belt asteroid and is also the largest object in the asteroid belt.
- The smallest known asteroid is 2009 TS169 with a diameter of only 2 meters.
- Asteroids are mainly made up of rock and metal, but some may also contain ice.
- Some asteroids have natural satellites, i.e. other celestial bodies orbiting them.
- Asteroids can have elliptical orbits and can be as much pieces as well as fragments of comets or asteroids.
- Asteroids have a variety of shapes and sizes due to rotation and collisions.
- Asteroids can also be potentially dangerous due to their proximity to Earth.
- Asteroids may contain valuable information about the formation and evolution of the solar system.
- NASA and other space agencies have sent missions to explore and study asteroids, such as OSIRIS-Rex, Hayabusa2 and NASA Dawn’s mission.
- Asteroids are also study objects for space mining, due to their valuable resources such as gold, platinum, iron and other metals.
- NASA and other space agencies are also developing technologies to detect and prevent potentially dangerous asteroids for Earth.