This chart shows the distribution of known asteroids as of 2011, projected onto the solar system’s ecliptic plane. White circles represent the orbits of Earth, Mars and Jupiter. Scientists say there may be more than a million asteroids measuring 130 feet or wider. (JAXA / AKARI Graphic)
Asteroid experts say they’re looking forward to an explosion – but not the kind of extinction-level blast that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
Instead, they’re anticipating an explosion of knowledge about near-Earth objects, and how to head them off in case they threaten our planet.
The perils and opportunities posed by the asteroids in our cosmic neighborhood is the focus of Asteroid Day, a global campaign that marks the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska explosion on June 30.
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