Asteroids – NASA Solar System Exploration

Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets, are rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system around 4.6 billion years ago.

The current number of known asteroids is: .

Most of this ancient space junk is found orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter in the main asteroid belt. The asteroids range in size from Vesta – the largest at around 329 miles (530 kilometers) in diameter – to bodies less than 33 feet (10 meters) in diameter. The total mass of all asteroids combined is less than that of Earth’s Moon.

Go further. Explore asteroids in depth ›

Explore the 3D world of asteroids, comets and near-Earth objects. Learn about past and future missions, orbit tracking and prediction, and close approaches to Earth.

Key science targets

Did you know?

Did you know?

The total mass of all asteroids in the Main Asteroid Belt combined is less than that of Earth’s Moon.

Kid-Friendly Asteroids

Kid-Friendly Asteroids

Asteroids are small rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets.

There are many asteroids in our solar system. Most of them are located in the main asteroid belt, a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Some asteroids pass in front and behind Jupiter. They are called Trojan asteroids. Asteroids that come close to Earth are called Near-Earth Objects, NEO for short. NASA closely monitors near-Earth objects.

Asteroids are remnants of the formation of our solar system.

Visit NASA Space Place for more kid-friendly facts.

NASA Space Place: All About Asteroids ›

Resources

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