Comets Cruise the Solar System Until they Collide or Evolve and Decay Into Main Asteroid Belt

Generally speaking, scientists believe that comets go round and round the solar system until they run into something, something big like a planet. Although recently we have noticed that some asteroids and comets end up hitting each other, when they do – both of the courses are altered. And sometimes one or both are completely destroyed due to the impact.

We watch the Levy Comet hit Jupiter, and currently we are watching a comet headed towards the Sun in 2010. We also watched a comet hitting an asteroid, demolishing the asteroid, and in this case the Comet appeared to stay pretty close to its original course. For those that think they can shoot down an asteroid or a comet for that matter, this does pose a rather large problem. If a comet and asteroid can collide at such a great speed, and one can keep going, then we might have a problem using a kinetic missiles to try to take out a comet.

In fact, there was another great article on SpaceWeather (dot) com entitled “Sun Diving Comet” posted on October 20, 2010 which stated – “A newly-discovered comet is diving toward the sun. Chinese comet hunter Bo Zhou found it on Oct. 19th in SOHO coronagraph images. The comet is faint now, but it should brighten in the hours ahead as it heats up.”

There is another potential eventuality, and there has been some discussion and research papers on this – that is, when a Comet decays its orbit, or hits something which slows it down – it might retire and then it reenters the asteroid belt and like a racehorse is put out to pasture. Of course as it goes through the asteroid belt it might hit an asteroid and knock it into a new Earth-crossing orbit.

Comets are very interesting things to study, and so too are asteroids, and as long as NASA is planning a manned mission to an asteroid, perhaps you might want to do some more personal research on this topic. So, please consider all this.


1. “Comets: Creators and Destroyers” by David H. Levy, Touchstone Publishers a division of Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, (1998), pp. 256, ISBN: 978-0684852553.
2. “The Threat of Comets and Asteroids” by Gerrit L. Verschuur, Oxford Press, New York, NY, (1996), pp. 237, ISBN: 0-19-510105-7.
3. “Rouge Doomsday Comets and Asteroids – the million megaton menace that threatens life on Earth,” by Duncan Steele (foreword by Arthur C. Clarke), John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY, (1995), pp. 308, ISBN: 0-471-30824-2.
4. Research Paper: “Evolution of Comets Into Asteroids” by PR Weissman, WF Bottke Jr., HF Levinson, published in Asteroids III pp. 669-686, 2002.
5. ASD News Online – Article on October 20, 2010 entitled; “When a Comet is Not a Comet – Rosetta Finds Out – Two Asteroids in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time,” (source; ESA).

Source by Lance Winslow

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