Asteroids approaching Earth, artwork

Asteroids approaching Earth, artwork

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Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Asteroids approaching Earth. Computer artwork of a pair of asteroids (one at upper centre) approaching the Earth. The Moon is at top left, and Africa and Europe are also seen. These asteroids are examples of near-Earth objects (NEOs), astronomical objects whose orbits intersect with that of the Earth. Asteroids are rocky bodies orbiting within the solar system. They vary in size from tens of metres across to more than a hundred kilometres across. Large asteroids (over a kilometre across) impacting the Earth can cause mass loss of life. It is thought that this is what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

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