Asteroids - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Duration: 1 hour

Famed for their ability to inflict Armageddon from outer space, asteroids are now revealing the secrets of how they are responsible for both life and death on our planet.

Armed with an array of powerful telescopes, scientists are finding up to 3000 new asteroids every night. And some are heading our way.

But astronomers have discovered that it's not the giant rocks that are the greatest danger - it's the small asteroids that pose a more immediate threat to Earth.

Researchers have explained the photon propulsion that propels these rocks across space, and have discovered that some asteroids are carrying a mysterious cargo of frost and ice across the solar system that could have helped start life on earth.

  • Professor Peter Schultz, Brown University

    Professor Peter Schultz, Brown University

    Prof. Peter Schultz with an image of a simulated asteroid impact. He uses the NASA Vertical Gun Range to study the effect of asteroid impact.

Credits

Producer
Dan Kendall
Director
Dan Kendall

Broadcasts

Free interactive ebook

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Horizon archive collection

Horizon archive collection

Entire episodes chosen to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary, starting from 1964.

About Longitude Prize 2014

About Longitude Prize 2014

The £10 million challenge to solve one of the greatest issues of our time.

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