May 17, 2013 |
It's 1.7 miles long. Its surface is covered in a sooty black substance similar to the gunk at the bottom of a barbecue. If it impacted Earth it would probably result in global extinction. Good thing it is just making a flyby. Asteroid 1998 QE2 will make its closest pass to Earth on May 31 at 1:59 p.m. PDT. Scientists are not sure where this unusually large space rock, which was discovered 15 years ago, originated from. But the mysterious sooty substance on its surface could indicate it may be the result of a comet that flew too close to the sun, said Amy Mainzer, who tracks near-Earth objects at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge . It might also have leaked out of the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, she said.
December 21, 2007 |
Talk about your cosmic pileups. An asteroid similar to the one that flattened forests in Siberia in 1908 could plow into Mars next month, scientists said Thursday. Researchers attached to NASA's Near-Earth Object Program, who sometimes jokingly call themselves the Solar System Defense Team, have been tracking the asteroid since its discovery in late November. The scientists, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, put the chances that it will hit the Red Planet on Jan. 30 at about 1 in 75. A 1-in-75 shot is "wildly unusual," said Steve Chesley, an astronomer with the Near-Earth Object office, which routinely tracks about 5,000 objects in Earth's neighborhood.
January 12, 2008 |
The possibility of a collision between Mars and an approaching asteroid has been effectively ruled out, according to scientists watching the space rock. Tracking measurements of asteroid 2007 WD5 taken from four observatories have greatly reduced uncertainties about its Jan. 30 close approach to Mars. The odds of impact have dropped to 1 in 10,000, the Near-Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a website posting Thursday. Scientists now estimate that the asteroid will pass between 16,000 and 2,480 miles from Mars' surface.
March 28, 2009 |
For the first time, scientists have matched a meteorite found on Earth with a specific asteroid that became a fireball plunging through the sky. The small asteroid blew up in the sky in October; a search through the Sudan desert turned up 8.7 pounds of black, jagged rocks, pieces of the asteroid. The report was published Thursday in the journal Nature.
March 4, 2010 |
It's official: The extinction of the dinosaurs and a host of other species 65.5 million years ago was caused by a massive asteroid that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, creating worldwide havoc, an international team of researchers said Thursday. The 7.5-mile-wide asteroid was traveling at a speed about 10 times that of a rifle bullet when it hit, releasing a billion times more energy than the Hiroshima atom bomb. The impact blew dirt and rock around the world, set massive wildfires, knocked down forests worldwide, triggered massive tsunamis and earthquakes of magnitude 11 or larger and even caused parts of the continent to slip into the ocean.
April 20, 1989 |
An asteroid half a mile wide, blazing through space at nearly 50,000 m.p.h., skirted past Earth last month in a cosmic "close call" unrivaled in the last 50 years, NASA officials said Wednesday. The asteroid, identified as 1989FC, passed within 500,000 miles of Earth--about twice the distance to the moon--on March 23, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration reported. "On the cosmic scale of things, that was a close call," said Dr. Henry Holt, an amateur astronomer from Flagstaff, Ariz.