In Pictures: The sizzling world of asteroids

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

The 548-metre long asteroid, "25143 Itokawa", is seen nearly 300 million km (186 million miles) from earth in this picture taken Nov. 20, 2005 by the Japanese unmanned Hayabusa and released by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The probe's shadow (tiny black spot seen on center) is made out on Itokawa's surface.

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