Segments in this Video

Destructive Force of Meteors (04:07)


With the help of an interactive website, scientists and amateurs can find out what kind of damage would be caused by specific impact asteroids

Asteroid Belt (02:52)

Rocks and space debris that did not form into planets were pulled into a belt between Jupiter and Mars. Created at the same time as Earth, asteroids contain the same material as Earth.

Life-Giving Force of Meteors (04:43)

Fragments of asteroids that make it to Earth's surface are called meteorites. Asteroids tell about the earliest history of planet building. In the outer solar system, leftover rocks now orbit neatly in the Kuiper belt.

How to Make a Comet (00:48)

A laboratory-manufactured comet reveals what happens to the icy rock as it is heated by the sun. It evaporates slowly and gives off steam.

Source of Earth's Water (03:25)

Water covers over 2/3 of Earth's surface. Could this water have come from outer space? Comets have been ruled out as a source. The main source of water is near-Earth asteroids. Another likely candidate is a class of main-belt comets.

Organic Matter from Space (02:21)

Asteroids and comets brought organic matter to Earth. Over 70 different kinds of amino acids--building blocks of protein-- have been found in meteorites. Space dust and Earth both contain the same silica grains.

Liquid Water in Space (05:17)

The presence of liquid water is necessary for life. Scientists capture bits of a comet orbiting Mars. In 2004, Stardust spacecraft met up with comet Wild 2 and ultimately brought samples back to Earth.

Extermination Force of Asteroids and Comets (04:09)

Asteroids and comets may be more closely related than scientists previously thought. Some comets mimic asteroids. Both of these space bodies have left deep scars on Earth resulting in the extermination of life time and time again.

Asteroid Impact Events (03:16)

Sixty-five million years, an asteroid or comet crashed into Earth and exterminated 75% of plant and animal life. The Chicxulub event was mostly likely caused by an asteroid.

1908 Blast in Tunguska (06:01)

In 1908, an asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere over Siberia. Equivalent to about a 2-megaton atomic bomb explosion, it leveled 1200 sq. miles of forest. No meteoric debris was recovered, suggesting that the impactor was of low strength.

Asteroids and Earth Today (02:21)

Earth is hit by soccer ball-sized space rocks every day. The government mandates NASA to observe 90% of near-Earth space objects that are more than 1/2 mile wide. Asteroids are potentially dangerous to life on Earth, yet they may provide valuable resources.

Life-Saving Value of Asteroids (03:15)

Mining in space may yield valuable metals, minerals, and water ice for planet Earth. In 2001 the NEAR spacecraft was the first man-made object to touch down on an asteroid. One day asteroids may be able to replenish Earth's resources.

Credits: Deadly Comets and Meteors (00:27)

Credits: Deadly Comets and Meteors

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Deadly Comets and Meteors

Part of the Series : The Universe
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



This program illustrates NASA’s efforts to arm itself with the latest technology to preempt the potentially apocalyptic impacts of asteroids and comets. Distributed by A&E Television Networks. A part of the series The Universe. (45 minutes)

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL43147

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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