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An image of the asteroid Gaspra.
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NASA/JPL

It's Asteroid Time!
News story originally written on March 17, 1998

Have you ever been on an Easter egg hunt? Well some people hunt for things other than eggs! NASA astronomers Robin Evans and Karl Stapelfeldt have hunted through 28,000 Hubble telescope images. What did they find? About 100 small asteroids. These asteroids are rocks that orbit between Mars and Jupiter in an area called the asteroid belt.

We need to know about asteroids because some of them come very close to the Earth (and could hit the Earth if they came any closer!). An asteroid discovered just last December (named 1997 XF11) is predicted to have a close encounter with the Earth in just 30 years. (How old will you be then?) This asteroid will pass close to the Earth, but it is in no danger of hitting the Earth.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA