Dead star, or "white dwarf," surrounded by the bits and pieces of a disintegrating asteroid
Dead star, or "white dwarf," surrounded by the bits and pieces of a disintegrating asteroid

Cosmic Queries: Asteroids, Comets and Meteor Storms

Artist's concept illustrating a dead star, or "white dwarf," surrounded by the bits and pieces of a disintegrating asteroid. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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About This Episode

“Why are some asteroids mineral rich and some just big rocks?” “Is the asteroid belt actually the debris from a failed planet?” “What’s the difference between comets, asteroids, meteoroids, meteors, meteorites, planets, dwarf planets and more?” “Are there interstellar asteroids?” “Do we have the ability to track meteors the size of the one that exploded recently over Russia?” In this week’s podcast, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice answer fan questions about asteroids. You’ll find out why the Moon doesn’t have an iron core, what science fiction movies get wrong about the asteroid belt, and what happened to the other planets in our early solar system. You’ll also learn about Abe Lincoln and the Leonid Meteor Storm of 1833, the practicality of deflecting asteroids to use as weapons, and whether Neil would rather be a pirate or a ninja. (And that’s not even the weirdest question this episode!)

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