An image of the asteroid Gaspra.
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It's Asteroid Time!
News story originally written on March 17, 1998

There seems to be a lot going on OUT THERE involving asteroids! Let's take a look!

For the last three years, NASA astronomers Robin Evans and Karl Stapelfeldt have hunted through 28,000 Hubble images. What did they find? About 100 small asteroids. These asteroids are rocks that orbit between Mars and Jupiter in an area called the main asteroid belt.

These asteroids are a concern for us 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. In October 2028, this asteroid will pass within 600 thousand miles of the Earth. This is considered so close that it has been added to the 'potentially hazardous asteroids' list or PHA's. These PHA's come dangerously close to the Earth and so are monitored very closely. At this time, no PHA is in danger of impacting the Earth.

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