November 6, 2013 |
Planetary scientists weren't remotely expecting the 62-foot-wide Chelyabinsk fireball to shoot across Russian skies in February -- they'd had their eyes peeled on a much bigger target that missed the Earth by a decent margin, the asteroid 2012 DA14. But this relatively modest, unseen space rock caused a shock wave that shattered countless windows in the city and injured more than a thousand people. It was the largest asteroid impact on land in more than a century. Researchers are now saying that such impacts, from relatively small asteroids just tens of yards long, might be 10 times more common than we'd thought.
October 17, 2013 |
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Ukrainian astronomers say an asteroid might collide with Earth in a couple of decades, a Russian news service reported Thursday. Space watchers from the observatory in the Crimean peninsula said they discovered an asteroid about 1,345 feet in diameter, which they call 2013 TV135, that is approaching Earth at a potentially dangerous trajectory, RIA Novosti said. The astronomers calculated the date of a potential collision as Aug. 26, 2032, the news service said, but they acknowledged the odds of an impact as 1 in 63,000.
September 12, 2013 |
Having trouble getting excited about NASA's planned mission to redirect an asteroid? Maybe William Gerstenmaier can help. "Turn off your logical side and turn on your touchy-feely side, the one you almost never use," Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, told attendees of an aeronautics and astronautics conference Wednesday in San Diego. "Then jump up and down and do some break-dancing. We're going to grab a space rock and we're going to move it!"
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.
March 6, 2014 |
Peering deep into the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, scientists have spotted the first disintegrating space rock ever observed. The rock is crumbing slowly -- its disparate pieces gliding gently away from each other at the sluggish rate of one mile an hour, slower than human walking speed. The strange space rock first caught scientists' attention in September when the Catalina and Pan STARRS sky survey telescopes detected what looked like an unusually fuzzy object on the far side of the asteroid belt.
March 26, 2014 |
In a first, scientists have detected rings encircling an M&M-shaped asteroid known as Chariklo. Until now, only the solar system's four gas planets - Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus and especially Saturn - were known to have rings. "It was an extremely surprising discovery," said James Bauer, a planetary astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge who was not involved in the finding. "No one has ever seen rings around a comet or an asteroid before. This is a brand-new area.