Awesome Asteroid Art

Celebrate International Asteroid Day by making some Awesome Asteroid Art!

Make your own asteroid for display using sculpting, painting, and color theory techniques.

Asteroid day was co-founded by astrophysicist and musician, Dr. Brian May, of the group Queen to help educate the public on the importance of asteroids in the formation of our solar system and how they impact space resources. It is celebrated on June 30 each year in commemoration of the Earth’s largest asteroid impact in recorded history. The impact is referred to as the Siberia Tunguska Event and it happened on June 30, 1908.

What is an Asteroid?

With approximately 1,800 asteroids identified in our solar system, scientists believe that asteroids may be the remains of the formation of the solar system – the Big Bang explosion! An asteroid is a rocky mass that orbits the sun (making it different from a meteor, which doesn’t have an orbit). Asteroids can be made from different types of materials They’re typically made from much the same materials that make up the inner Solar System’s rocky worlds, though there’s enough variation to sort them into three different classifications.

  • C-type, or carbonaceous chondrite asteroids, are mostly made up of silicates and clays. These clumps of ancient rubble are fairly dark in color, and are the most common of the three types.
  • S-type, or stony asteroids, also contain silicates, as well as a smattering of nickel-iron. Nearly a fifth of all asteroids are in this category.
  • M-type, or metallic asteroids, are mostly made of nickel and iron. Depending on where they formed, their bright-looking insides bear various signs of melting by the Sun’s heat.

Making Your Own Asteroid Art

Let’s make our own mini-asteroid using paper sculpting and paint layering techniques!

  • Paper (newspaper, scrap paper)
  • Neutral color paper tape
  • Straw
  • Cardboard box
  • Tempera paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Paper plate

  1. Crumple newspaper into a grapefruit size ball. Don’t worry about the overall shape! The more irregular, with nooks and crannies, the better!
  2. Cut one end of the straw in half from the top down about 1 inch. Repeat on the other end.
  3. Open one end of the straw and tape to the top of the cardboard box.
  4. Open the other end of the straw and tape the “bottom” of your asteroid.
  5. Wrap paper tape round the newspaper bundle, covering the surface of your “asteroid.” Allow paint to dry.
  6. Using a paint brush and tempera paint, paint a base coat on your asteroid. Think about what type of asteroid you are making? How would a C-Type differ from an S-Type from an M-type? How does that influence your color choice?
  7. Pour a small amount of different colors of paint onto the paper plate
  8. Crumple up the paper towel and dip it lightly into the paint.
  9. Using quick dabbing motions, add color all over your asteroid. Experiment with dabbing color over dry areas and over paint that hasn’t dried. What happens to the paint?
  10. If desired, paint the cardboard box black. You can even name your asteroid and make a label/write it on the box.

For more information about International Asteroid Day, check out the official website here.

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