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Asteroids: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly



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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: BBC
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 50 mins
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2010
Available in French: No

Once seen as the least glamorous objects in the solar system, it now looks like asteroids could hold clues to how the Earth was formed, how life began and ultimately, how it will end.

For centuries asteroids have been ignored by science. The poor relation to the planets and even their icy cousins, the comets, asteroids were dismissed as boring or caricatured as the harbingers of an unlikely doom. But the real story is far more weird and interesting...
 
Meet the people searching for the threat from asteroids, and discovers how this threat has evolved. Initiated by the US Department of Defense Satellites, the hunt for the rocks most likely to cause global catastrophe is now a collaboration between leading universities, NASA, and even amateur astronomers.
 
Thankfully, asteroid Armageddon doesn’t look like it’ll happen any time soon. But scientists have made some very strange discoveries that could solve one of the greatest mysteries in science – how water arrived on Earth. Far from being dry and boring, recent discoveries suggest some asteroids are actually covered in ice.
 
In fact, the status of the asteroid has changed so much that NASA has chosen the asteroid for mankind’s next giant leap in interplanetary adventure. Their mission, scheduled for 2025, aims to unlock the mysteries of these pieces of rock better than any telescope or robotic probe.
 
And while scientists have been busy spotting the big rocks, recent research suggests we should actually be more concerned about the smaller, harder to find asteroids. They might not cause global destruction, but the effect of an asteroid exploding in the upper atmosphere could be much worse than first thought.
 
So could an asteroid impact be responsible for life on Earth? Will asteroids change the world as we know it? Could they become a water source for space missions?