Difference between asteroids, meteors and comets – NASA explains how to tell them apart

What is an asteroid?

Asteroids are the rocky remnants from our solar system’s early formation, approximately 4.6 billion years ago.

Known by NASA to number approximately 1,041,932, the vast majority of asteroids are found orbiting the Sun between red planet Mars and gas giant Jupiter in the main asteroid belt.

Such rogue space rocks can drastically range in size from the largest – Vesta – measuring 329 miles (530km) across, to diminutive ones smaller than 33ft (10m) in diameter.

Experts estimate the total mass of all the asteroids taken together is less than that of our planet’s Moon.


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