The asteroid belt might only seem like something you’re likely to encounter in The Empire Strikes Back, but, it’s actually a hugely pivotal component in the makeup of the universe. There is so much we don’t know about the universe, along with how our Solar System was created, and the asteroid belt can tell us quite a bit about it. You should know that not everything in the Solar System began the way we might have thought.
The asteroid belt is the leftover remnants of objects that did not become part of a planet, and the belt is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The belt is around 4% the mass of the Moon, and some of the remnants have made their way to the inner Solar System, leading to collisions with other planets. Here are some stunning facts you never knew about the asteroid belt:
There are over half a million asteroids
Did you know, there are over half a million asteroids in the asteroid belt? But there used to be a whole load more. Indeed, around 99.9% of the original mass of the asteroid belt wound up being destroyed in the first one hundred million years of the Solar System. This was down to violent collisions that prevented objects from fusing together. There are three different types of asteroids, S-Type, C-Type, and M-Type – and they range from between 30 feet, to 330 miles in length! These asteroids are dotted about the Solar System, with some having a close proximity to Earth.
You could fly your spaceship through it comfortably
One of the biggest misconceptions we have about asteroid belts generally stems from the movies. We have all seen film clips of spaceships flying into asteroid belts, and having to try to negotiate rogue asteroids flying all over the place. In reality, the asteroid belt is incredibly spacious, and it’s actually really difficult to get close enough to an asteroid to actually see one, nevermind having to dodge one! Forget what you see in The Empire Strikes Back… Well, forget the asteroid bit anyway!
Scientists are looking for the most ancient objects
There are so many objects to check out within the asteroid belt, and many of them are ancient. These are catching the interest of scientists, who attempt to find out as much as they can about the oldest objects in the universe. These can help deepen our understanding of how the universe works, as well as exploring how things have changed over the centuries. This presents intriguing questions and theories for scientists to explore.
Asteroids are like snowflakes
One of the most amazing things about asteroids is the fact that they are actually really similar to snowflakes in a lot of ways. This is predominantly due to the fact that no two asteroids are completely alike. There are so many asteroids, and all of them tell their own unique story, and this is what is so great about them. Looking at the diversity in the asteroid belt, it’s no wonder scientists continue to be awed and amazed by asteroids.
These are just a few of the most amazing facts you probably never knew about the asteroid belt. There are so many wonderful things to consider when looking at this diverse and important part of the Solar System. Forget the existing preconceptions you might have, and learn as much as you can about the phenomenon that is.