Vesta asteroid

This July 23, 2011 image of the Asteroid Vesta, released by NASA/JPL, was captured by the Dawn spacecraft at a distance of 3,200 miles (5,200 kilometers).  Dawn entered orbit around Vesta on July 15, and will spend a year orbiting the body. After that, the next stop on its itinerary will be an encounter with the dwarf planet Ceres. (AP Photo/ NASA/JPL)

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NASA is partnering with the billionaire-backed company Planetary Resources Inc., to launch asteroid-hunting competitions, and they want your help.

Then U.S. space agency and the asteroid-mining firm are seeking to crowdsource new ideas for software to find space rocks that could pose a threat to our planet — or at least be of interest to scientists and cosmic mineral prospectors.

These images depict views of the massive asteroid Vesta - how it is more like a planet than an asteroid, scientists said Dec. 5, 2011.

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