You’ve probably seen movies about asteroids hitting the Earth or have heard about asteroids that might come within a close distance of hitting the Earth in a real-life situation. An asteroid is a large piece of rock that is too small for scientists to call a planet. There are almost 2 million asteroids in the Main Belt in space. Some asteroids have a metallic base while others have a carbon or silicate base. There is no specific size or shape for an asteroid. Many people think that the large rocks are round, but there are numerous asteroids that have jagged edges or that have a shape with many curves instead of one continuous circle. In 2021, a mission will venture to the asteroid belt near Jupiter to explore some of the large rocks near the planet.
Even when you hear about an asteroid possibly getting near Earth, most stay farther than 28 million miles away from the planet. However, there are a few small asteroids that have come into the atmosphere. These are so small that they are burned up before they reach the surface. Scientists across the United States and the rest of the world are keeping an eye on the sky for any possible asteroids that might try to sneak into the atmosphere in the future.