near-earth object

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  near-Earth object
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  any asteroid, comet, or meteoroid whose orbit intersects that of the Earth and has the potential to collide with Earth; abbr. NEO
Example:  NASA has a congressional mandate to catalog all near-Earth objects.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
near-Earth object   (nîr'ûrth')  Pronunciation Key 
A comet or asteroid with an orbit or trajectory that comes near Earth's orbit, often drawn into such a path by the gravitational effect of the Earth and other planets. While there is currently no known near-Earth object on a collision course with Earth, collisions with such objects have taken place in the past and may be associated with mass extinctions such as those that took place at the end of the Permian and Cretaceous Periods.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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