List of terror! NASA reveals 5 BIGGEST asteroids that may pose a threat to Earth

What are the biggest asteroids in our solar system? NASA has shared the list of these giant space rocks that are virtually labelled as planet killers on account of their massive size as well as the speed they are travelling. In fact a double whammy, if ever there was one.

| Updated on: Aug 28 2022, 14:39 IST
What is an Asteroid? NASA defines what these dangerous objects in sky are
1/5 An asteroid is a small, rocky object hurtling through the sky. When seen in a telescope, an asteroid appears as a point of light, according to NASA. Most asteroids are found in a ring between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter called the asteroid belt. (Pixabay)
2/5 Asteroids have several shapes, they may be spherical, elongated, or oddly shaped. Some asteroids even have their own satellites! Asteroids also vary in size. From Vesta, the largest at about 530 kilometers in diameter, to asteroids that are less than 10 meters in diameter, they can be found in all shapes and sizes. (Pixabay)
3/5 Asteroids are also called minor planets. These celestial objects are the remains of the period during which our solar system formed, over 4.6 billion years ago. According to NASA, the current known asteroid count is 1,113,527. (HT_PRINT)
4/5 Asteroids can potentially threaten life on Earth. Apocalyptic movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon and Don't Look Up have always explored the ‘What Ifs’ of world destruction, with the most famous means of world destruction being asteroids crashing into Earth. (Pixabay)
5/5 To counter this, NASA had readied itself to potentially defend the planet against a very similar threat that is posed by asteroids by preparing the DART mission. It involves smashing a spacecraft into an oncoming asteroid at a speed of nearly 23,000kph. This knowledge will be used if an actual asteroid threatens to crash against the Earth. It will help avert an Armageddon on Earth and perhaps, even save humanity from extinction. (NASA)
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NASA keeps a track of asteroids every day and there are more than one million asteroids to date. (Pixabay)

The Earth is under constant threat from asteroids that come shooting by and buzz the planet at close range. There have been many asteroids that have crashed on Earth and some even caused the extinction of many species. They threaten the same fate for us humans too. These asteroids are rocky remnants from the time when the early universe was forming and they are still running loose. Most of this ancient space rubble orbits between Mars and Jupiter within the main asteroid belt. NASA says that asteroids range in size from the massive ones of about 329 miles in diameter to asteroids that are less than 10 meters across. Still, there is the possibility that an asteroid could hit Earth one day, in case they deviate from their original paths. In fact, there is a percentage of Potentially Hazardous Asteroids that can put all life on Earth at risk.

To detect the terror in advance, NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies keeps an eye on all these objects in space to detect any potential harm from them in advance. Right now, NASA is monitoring an asteroid named Bennu as large as the Empire State building that has a 1/2700 chance of impacting Earth, that too between 2175 and 2195. But there are some other massive asteroids that may pose a threat to Earth! Know the biggest 5 asteroids here.

5 Biggest asteroids that may pose a threat to Earth

Asteroid/Dwarf Planet Ceres

Dwarf planet Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It was first discovered as a planet, but called an asteroid for many years, Ceres measures a whopping 592 miles in diameter. Ceres takes 1,682 Earth days, or 4.6 Earth years, to make one trip around the Sun. And you know what? Ceres comprises 25 percent of the total mass of the asteroid belt.

Asteroid Pallas

Discovered in 1802, Pallas is the second largest asteroid, which measures around 318 miles in diameter. It makes up around seven percent of the total mass of the asteroid belt.

Asteroid Vesta

Vesta was first discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers in 1807. It is around 310 miles in diameter. NASA says that the spherical-shaped asteroid has separated into crust, mantle and core much like Earth.

Asteroid Hygiea

Hygiea is a dwarf planet orbiting between Mars and Jupiter in the main portion of the asteroid belt. It is around 407.12 kilometres or 252.9 miles in diameter. However, NASA has not classified Hygiea as a potentially hazardous asteroid because its orbit does not bring it close to Earth.

Asteroid Interamnia

And last but not least, one of the biggest asteroids is Interamnia, having around 306.313 km in diameter orbits the sun every 1,950 days.

Asteroid Fun Fact!

Do you know? NASA scientists have identified around 1,113,527 such asteroids so far. And the surprising fact is that the total mass of all the asteroids combined is even less than that of Earth's Moon!


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First Published Date: 28 Aug, 14:39 IST
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