Asteroid belt, computer artwork. Asteroids are large rocks left over from the formation of the solar system. Most of the thousands of asteroids in the solar system lie in the asteroid belt, a region about 180 million kilometres wide, between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. It is thought that the asteroid belt did not form into a planet because the gravitational pull of Jupiter prevented the formation of large bodies. Most of the asteroids are less than 100 kilometres across. The mass of the asteroid belt is estimated to be a thousandth that of Earth. The asteroids are spread over a large volume, with an average separation of around 6 million kilometres.
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