In Pictures: The sizzling world of asteroids

From new space mining venture to causing the end of the world, asteroids are a hot topic

An asteroid strike is believed to have set about events that caused the extinction of dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Though scientists believe they have mapped all of the 6-mile-wide objects that could cross Earth's path and annihilate life here, dozens of research centers are searching the sky for moderate-sized asteroids or comets in the half-mile-wide range that might one day collide with the Earth and kick up enough dust to cause a 'nuclear winter' that would wipe out crops and might cause tsunamis to swamp coastal areas.

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