A asteroid field (in some instances, a lone asteroid or meteor) orbits somewhere around PNF-404. It is responsible for many events in the Pikmin series that stem from complications involving crash landings. The sheer number of crashes occuring on the planet, combined with characters mentioning that they felt something originating from PNF-404's surface forcibly drawing their spaceships to the planet, suggests it is able to pull ships towards it and make them malfunction. The true nature and existence of this force is unknown, but the likelihood of several crashes in short succession of one another by unrelated individuals (as seen in Pikmin 4), several of whom are expert pilots, is too small to ascribe it to coincidence.
In Pikmin, a lone meteor is directly responsible for the entire events of the game. While Captain Olimar is cruising through space in the S.S. Dolphin, he collides with the meteor, causing his ship to crash and putting the entire plot of Pikmin in motion. The meteor is not seen again after Olimar's successful ascent from PNF-404.
In Pikmin 2
In Pikmin 2, another lone meteor makes an appearance in the opening cutscene of the game, shortly after Olimar and Louie space-warp to PNF-404 in the Hocotate ship. Olimar recoils in panic upon seeing the same phenomenon for a second time, but the Hocotate ship takes control and quickly manages to manouver itself around the meteor, narrowly avoiding a second crash landing. However, the manouver complicates the landing of the ship, and after some turbulence, causes Louie to crash land in the Valley of Repose. The ship and Olimar land unscathed, and the events of Pikmin 2 follow.
In Pikmin 3
In Pikmin 3, the asteroid field does not appear directly, but ambiguously in the opening cutscene. In it, the S.S. Drake is seen to hit a point of impact midway through the landing sequence, which causes a crash, and Alph, Brittany, and Charlie are all ejected onto the PNF-404. The cause is described as something going "horribly wrong"; this is never elaborated on.
The European-only text of one of Alph's voyage logs seemingly confirms at least an astronomical object as the cause of the crash, as it caused dents in the S.S. Drake.
In Pikmin 4
In Pikmin 4, the asteroid field is central to the story, being the direct cause of not only Olimar's crash, but all members of the Rescue Corps, presumably along with the many castaways and leaflings present on PNF-404, as they have all said to have crash landed. Multiple asteroids are seen in space at the beginning of the game, and after the player's successful rescue of Olimar and the Rescue Corps, and the force of the S.S. Shepherd causes them to disperse. As such, they are not seen again upon re-entering PNF-404 due to Oatchi's sickness.
Louie is said to have landed on the planet by himself after being ordered by The President, and did not crash land.
In Hey! Pikmin
Hey! Pikmin is set on a different planet from PNF-404, but a similar phenomenon occurs; Olimar accidentally warps into an asteroid field, and the S.S. Dolphin II crashes into two asteroids simultaneously, which immediately causes him to crash land. Like Pikmin, the asteroids are not seen again after Olimar's successful ascent from the planet.
- If counting the astronomical object from Pikmin 3, counting Louie's brief crash landing from Pikmin 2, and counting each time Olimar crashes individually, then the asteroid(s) and meteor(s) have caused no less than:
- 21 individual ship crashes, and 56 individuals to crash.
- Olimar has crashed into a meteor in every game except Pikmin 2 and Pikmin 3, making a total of 3 ship crashes.
- Louie crashes as a result of the turbulence indirectly caused by a meteor in Pikmin 2.
- Alph, Brittany, and Charlie all crash in Pikmin 3; the S.S. Drake lands fine.
- In Pikmin 4 alone as a result of the asteroid belt:
- The six members of the Rescue Corps and Oatchi in the S.S. Shepherd;
- Yorke, Don Bergman, Nelle and their ship;
- The TV crew consisting of Frisé, Vonda, Muggs, Wolfgang, and their ship;
- The researchers consisting of Chet, François, Pitunia, Sy, Osa, Kit, Twyla, Sammy, Komo, Ren, and their ship;
- The Satella Travel tourist group consisting of Chewy, Sheeba, Keesh, Kaia, Mika, Molly, Lapi, Boris, Horatio, Santi, and their ship;
- The Tulbo Real Estate group consisting of Chowder, Kayz, and their ship;
- The telecom company group consisting of Alpin, Fawks, and their ship;
- Individual space travellers consisting of Schnauz, Dalmo, Corgwin, Jin, Puddle, Kingsly, Bernise, Grace, Dash, Patch, Beaux, and their ships.
- 21 individual ship crashes, and 56 individuals to crash.
- The only times in the entire Pikmin series that ships have landed on PNF-404's surface without crashing are:
- Olimar and The President's revisit via Hocotate ship in Pikmin 2;
- Olimar and Louie's two landings in Pikmin 3, once via Hocotate ship and the other via an unnamed pod;
- Louie's landing via unknown ship in Pikmin 4;
- The player's landing via the S.S. Beagle, also in Pikmin 4;
- and the player and the Rescue Corps re-landing via the S.S. Shepherd after noticing Oatchi's sickness, also in Pikmin 4.
- The only characters that land on the surface of PNF-404 without interference from the asteroid belt in the entire Pikmin series are The President and the Pikmin 4 player character.
- “Brrrzzzzzt! That was close. I have averted a crash landing. Running diagnostics...” – Hocotate ship in Pikmin 2 after landing on PNF-404
- “My beloved SS Drake, which managed to get us all those 279,000 light years here! The Drake was designed by my grandfather, just for this voyage. Oh, how we've abused you since then, dear Drake, crash-landing you on this planet. If we ever do make it back to Koppai, I promise that I'll give you a good wash and polish, and fix any dents!” – Alph in his voyage log
- “I never imagined that a meteorite would hit the ship... It's a miracle that I'm alive at all. I want to thank you again for everything.” – Captain Olimar in Pikmin 4 after being rescued