Here, we are going to talk about whether or not the movies are lying to us about outer space… It is hard for us to know whether they are right or wrong. Especially when it comes to space.
However, we are going to look at asteroids – we go into what they are, along with all the different kinds of asteroids out there, and we will answer your burning question of whether or not you can walk on them just like they do in movies.
What Is An Asteroid?
An asteroid can be defined as a really small collection of minerals that are orbiting the sun.
You might have also heard of them being called a minor planet.
In addition to this, when the orbiting object happens to be bigger, then it is known as a planetoid.
Asteroids are usually created from the same materials which ultimately form the inner solar system’s rocky terrain, but there is enough variation in order to categorize them into different groups.
Are There Different Kinds Of Asteroids?
There are carbonaceous chondrite asteroids, and these are mostly formed of silicates as well as clays.
These kinds of asteroids will be especially dark in their color, and these can be considered as the most common kinds of asteroids of the 3 different variations.
There are stony asteroids, and they contain silicates too, but they also have some nickel-iron as well.
Nearly a fifth of asteroids fall into this group. Lastly, there are metallic asteroids. They are made of nickel and also iron.
This all depends on where exactly they are made.
For this reason, their brighter insides are a reflection of how much the sun’s heat has melted them.
Ultimately, these asteroids are a representation of either the leftovers of aggregated dust and also rock from a period of time prior to when the planet was formed.
Alternatively, in the rarest of situations, baby planets will have been blasted apart right before they even have an opportunity to form into a new world.
The majority of information that we know about asteroids has actually come from far away… And, by far away, we mean studying the few chunks that have landed on the surface of the Earth.
Here’s the thing, this is changing pretty drastically now as there are missions that are being sent to examine them up close.
Where Can Asteroids Be Located?
It’s true that the majority of asteroids will be located right between Mars and also Jupiter.
In fact, our solar system by itself is said to possibly have over 150 million asteroids – that’s kind of a lot.
Thinking officially here, there is no doubt that we have only counted a small percentage of asteroids.
There are just over one million cataloged, but when you put this into perspective with the number of asteroids within the solar system, then this is a minuscule amount.
The brightest asteroid is called Vesta, a 525km wide asteroid, and this has orbited slightly more than just twice the Earth’s orbital distance away from the sun.
Are There Any Other Kinds Of Asteroids?
It is important to note that the much smaller asteroids will happen to be described as meteoroids.
In fact, any time these significantly smaller asteroids come into the atmosphere in an inferno of vaporized minerals, then they become meteors as opposed to being just asteroids.
After all, making it through this fiery descent warrants them the right to have a name upgrade!
What Are Near Earth Asteroids?
There can be some objects that enter the Earth’s surrounding area – and these are what are known as near-Earth asteroids.
In fact, we are aware of more than ten thousand near-Earth asteroids, and this means that their orbits and also their size makes them a pretty big opposition to our safety.
It is true that some of these asteroids will fall into gravitationally equal spaces in close proximity to other planets.
Here’s the thing, there are asteroids that are not even from our solar system – and there is just one that we know of at the moment, Oumuamua.
To Answer The Question
So, you might be slightly disappointed with the answer we have for you… Yeah… If you hadn’t guessed by now, asteroids tend to be pretty small.
It’s for this reason that they have especially weak gravity – and, in light of this, an astronaut would end up floating more than walking on the asteroid.
Have Any Spacecraft Managed To Land On An Asteroid?
You might be surprised to know that there are several examples of spacecraft which have managed to land on an asteroid.
One example occurred in 2001 when a group of flight controllers landed one of NASA’s spacecraft called NEAR on an asteroid that was named Eros.
In fact, Eros was the very first spacecraft to orbit and then to touchdown on the surface of an asteroid.
In addition to this, NEAR actually started orbiting Eros one whole year before; this was actually on February 14th, 2000.
This spacecraft was used in order to collect zoomed-in photographs, and also this measured the shape and size of the Eros asteroid right before landing.
In addition to this, Eros is the largest of the asteroids which have orbits that intersect with the orbit of the Earth itself.
This is one of the many examples of spacecraft which have been able to land on an asteroid.
So, it turns out you can’t walk on an asteroid… But you can get a spacecraft to land on it.
Is There A Difference Between An Asteroid And A Comet?
This is a relatively common question – and it is also a common misconception, too.
It is true that both comets and asteroids are pretty small; they do actually vary depending on where they originate from and also from where they are created.
Comets are formed in the very furthest reaches of the solar system, and this is where the sun’s radiance is not too potent.
This means that they can’t burn off their ice and their gas.
The comets which are heading towards the center of the solar system will lose their more dangerous materials – and this will leave behind a plume of gas and dust.
Despite this especially clear identifying factor, there are some objects which are named centaurs – they are based on the outlines of asteroids and also of comets.
However, it is tricky to distinguish celestial objects – you can’t always put celestial objects in neat boxes.
Astronomers have spent years trying to work out how to distinguish between the two, but in actual fact, they can be put in a collective box.
On the whole, it is pretty clear that the movies are lying to us… You really can’t walk on asteroids like they do in some of the movies.
We are sorry to be the ones to break this news to you.
It is truly devastating that movies have made such a magical act seem possible, only for it to be ripped away from us by cold, hard facts!
However, you can kind of be in close proximity to an asteroid… Although it would be more like floating and less like walking.
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