Posted by: tpsciencefun | October 19, 2012

How Do Space Craft Make It Past The Asteroid Belt?

I was recently speaking with Linden Scheder (5th grade) and his mom, Nadia about all the incredible Mars discoveries and technology advances  scientists from our own community have accomplishments.  Today’s Rovers and amazing technology have opened up a whole new world of discoveries.  Linden even showed me a photo of his uncle and grandfather with the other awesome scientists that have made this space exploration a reality!!

When we started discussing travel beyond Mars and the Asteroid Belt, I began to wonder how on earth do our satellites, space probes and space crafts get to the giant outer gas planets without being bombarded ?? So, in true science fashion I decided to investigate and this is what I discovered on an amazing NASA website.

Ask an Astrophysicist

The Question????

My friend and I were wondering how do scientists get the space probes that search other planets, like Voyager etc. through the asteroid belt? If the probes went through the asteroid belt wouldn’t they get hit by a rock and get damaged?

The Answer…………………

Planetary probes can pass through the asteroid belt without any problem because, unlike in the movies, there is really a LOT of space between asteroids. More than 7000 have been discovered and several hundred new ones are found every year. There are probably millions of asteroids of various size, but those in the asteroid belt are spread over a ring that is more than a billion kilometers in circumference, more than 100 million kilometers wide, and millions of kilometers thick. Thanks for your questions

Eric Christian
for Ask an Astrophysicist

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