Asteroids Essay

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5. What are some current areas of research on the asteroid belt and what type of technology is used in this research? Some current areas of research about the asteroid belt include orbit, impacts, composition, and even discovering new asteroids. From Earth this research is done by use of telescopes. While this information has been valuable, recent more detailed information has been captured from data collected from satellites. In an article written by Pete Spotts of The Christian Science Monitor in on June 23, 2001 “After four years and 1.7 billion miles – including two swings around the sun – NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on final approach to Vesta, an object expected to provide an unprecedented glimpse into the early years of the solar system.” (Spotts, 2011) NASA’s Dawn satellite reached the asteroid belt and took photos of Vesta, one of the two largest asteroids in the belt. An image from the article depicting the satellites examination of the asteroid is below. (Spotts, 2011) 6. Could any fragments from the Asteroid Belt have a negative impact on Earth? Describe what this might be. It is definitely possible for a fragment from the Asteroid Belt to make it to Earth and in turn have a negative impact on the Earth. When asteroids in the belt collide with enough force they break apart and form debris. This debris gathers with other debris and particles and makes its way to Earth. Smaller asteroids are normally destroyed when entering atmosphere due to extreme heat, they simply burn up. The asteroids that are large enough (or dense enough) to not be destroyed on entry, become meteorites or ‘fireballs’ as they enter the atmosphere. “As it entered Earth's atmosphere, the asteroid compressed and heated the air in front of it, heating itself and releasing a tremendous amount of light and energy.”(Martel, 2010) Below is a drawing depiction made from a

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