Earth from an asteroid, artwork. Asteroids are large rocks left over after the solar system formed. They mostly have a diameter of less than a hundred kilometres. Most of the thousands of asteroids in the solar system lie in the asteroid belt between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. At least 50 asteroids have orbits that intersect that of Earth. Earth has been hit by asteroids in the past, causing mass loss of life such as the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and asteroids are certain to hit Earth again in the future. This asteroid is around 40,000 kilometres from the Earth, about a tenth of the Earth-Moon distance.
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