Chaotic asteroid orbit

Chaotic asteroid orbit

Fig. 12.4 . Asteroid orbits can become chaotic under the gravitational influence of nearby massive Jupiter. Asteroids at certain locations in the main belt follow a trajectory that becomes increasingly off-center over thousands of orbits. They may eventually become interlopers with orbits that cross the Earth’s orbit. Some of these near-Earth asteroids may eventually collide with our planet.

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University