Wild-card comets main content.

Wild-card comets

Part of Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites.

D.2.4.9. Wild-card comets..jpg

Exhibition Text


Comets—clumps of ice and rock—come near Earth much less frequently than asteroids, but they travel much faster—one hundred times the speed of sound on Earth. So even a relatively small comet would impact with very high energy, and with little warning.

As a rule, comets are much harder to find and track than asteroids. Trillions of comets are hidden in a zone far beyond Pluto's orbit called the Oort cloud. Because comets are less reflective than asteroids, they can remain invisible until they're very close to Earth. As a