This Asteroid Will Be Earth's Second Moon

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This Asteroid Will Be Earth's Second Moon

Does Earth have two moons? In April 2016, scientists discovered a new neighbor that appears to have been around for a hundred years and will remain for another few centuries. The asteroid, called 2016 HO3, is a quasi-satellite in Earth's orbit that can almost be considered a second moon. This asteroid is in orbit around the sun, but it circles around Earth at the same time. Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, described 2016 HO3, which is much too far from our home planet to be considered a true moon or natural satellite, as being "caught in a little dance with Earth." The asteroid, which measures only about 40-100 meters across, will cause no threat to our planet. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

Mine An Asteroid, Make Trillions Of Dollars

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Mine An Asteroid, Make Trillions Of Dollars

As Earth works through its finite supply of industrial and precious metals, some companies are looking to space for the newest mining endeavor. Many of the asteroids that orbit relatively close to our planet contain large reserves of metals. In fact, a single asteroid could contain enough nickel-iron to meet global needs for millions of years! Asteroid mining could even facilitate interstellar travel, as the water found on some asteroids could be split into its hydrogen and oxygen components to make rocket fuel. Asteroids could therefore function as gas stations in space, allowing spacecraft to travel greater distances than ever before.

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Key Facts to Know

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    One 30-meter asteroid can have 20 trillion dollars' worth of metal inside it. 0:45

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    Traveling to a nearby asteroid would require less energy than traveling to the moon. 2:24

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    Companies are currently planning scouting missions to determine the best asteroids for mining. 2:56

How Many Asteroids Are There?

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How Many Asteroids Are There?

The asteroid belt sits between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and contains millions of large and small asteroids. Most of the solar system's asteroids are found in the belt, but you might not know it if you went there for vacation—the belt is so spacious that asteroids would rarely, if ever, be as densely packed as they are in the movies.

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from Sharkee

Key Facts to Know

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    Most of the asteroids in our solar system are found within the asteroid belt. 1:22

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    The asteroid belt has .7 to 1.7 million asteroids with a diameter of 1 km or more. 2:30

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    Asteroids don't sit still in space; they move at very fast velocities. 4:01

Meteoroids vs. Asteroids

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Meteoroids vs. Asteroids

Meteoroids are actually small chunks that have broken off from comets, asteroids, or planetary bodies. If one hits Earth's atmosphere and doesn't vaporize completely before landing, then it's called a meteorite. If it does vaporize, then the light and trail it causes are called a meteor—otherwise known as a shooting star.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Meteoroids are much smaller than asteroids, which can stretch for 1,000 kilometers. 0:25

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    Both meteoroids and asteroids are made primarily of rocks and ice, but they can carry rare materials as well. 1:32

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    Meteoroids typically vaporize when they hit the atmosphere, whereas asteroids can cause large impacts. 2:40