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.
February 17, 2013 |
The 10-ton meteor that streaked into Earth's atmosphere at 40,000 mph and exploded above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk was a reminder that the universe is not such a hospitable place. Still, though hundreds of people were injured and thousands of windows were shattered, no one died and repairs can be made. By comparison, the terrestrial havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the northeastern United States was far more devastating. In the movies, when humanity is faced with imminent doom, whether from a massive asteroid or an invasion of space monsters, the people of the world forget their differences, band together and save themselves.
April 24, 2012 |
Google Inc. Chief Executive Larry Page and Chairman Eric Schmidt are two of the high-profile backers of Planetary Resources Inc., a newly formed company that plans to spend millions of dollars on the distinctly sci-fi goal of mining the surface of near-Earth asteroids for precious metals and rare metallic elements. As projects go, this one is definitely ambitious and insane sounding. The plan involves sending "a swarm" of 20-pound satellites that cost as much as $5 million apiece 500 miles from Earth in search of potential platinum-rich asteroids, The Times reported . If an asteroid appears to be worth mining, the company will send in a fleet of even higher-powered satellites for a closer look, and if it still appears to be worth mining, they'll send in the drilling robots.
March 24, 1994 |
NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Wednesday released the first evidence of a moon orbiting an asteroid, a discovery that could yield clues to the creation of the solar system and how the traffic jam of orbiting rocks between Mars and Jupiter came into being. The moon, a mountain of stone about a mile in diameter, appears to circle an asteroid the size of Los Angeles, called Ida.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 16, 1990 |
An asteroid hurtled across Earth's orbit at a distance of only 3 million miles last week in a passing that planetary scientists consider a close encounter. The asteroid, dubbed 1990 MF, made one of the closest crossings of Earth orbit observed in 50 years. It had been tracked since Jet Propulsion Laboratory planetary scientist Eleanor Helin discovered it June 26. Scientists estimated the rocky object's diameter at 300 to 1,000 feet and said the radiant asteroid accelerated to 22,000 m.p.h.
March 3, 2001 |
After a mission that exceeded expectations, the hardy spacecraft that became the first man-made object to land on an asteroid was shut down this week by NASA scientists at JPL and Johns Hopkins University. On Feb. 12, the 1,100-pound NEAR spacecraft gently landed on the asteroid Eros and continued to send signals to surprised and delighted scientists. NASA extended communications with the NEAR mission by two weeks beyond its scheduled Feb.
March 18, 1994 |
An asteroid missed Earth, passing by at less than half the distance to the moon, an Australian-based astronomer said Thursday. The asteroid, estimated to be up to 22 yards across and traveling at 43,000 m.p.h., passed by Tuesday between 100,000 and 112,000 miles away. "In the cosmic scale of things, that really is right in our back yard," Duncan Steel of the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Sydney said in a radio interview.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 11, 1991 |
Tiny, glassy particles from Haiti provide new evidence that a huge asteroid struck the Earth about 65 million years ago, killing off the dinosaurs and other life forms, a team of researchers reported last week in the journal Nature. Chemical and structural analysis suggests that the glass blobs were formed from rock by the extreme heat of such an impact, they said.
July 8, 2006 |
A huge asteroid whizzed by Earth early this week about 269,000 miles from the surface -- slightly farther away than the moon. The asteroid, discovered in 2004, is estimated to be as wide as half a mile, one of the largest to fly so close to Earth in the last few years. Its closest approach Monday was over the West Coast. Scientists think 2004 XP14 will have 10 more close encounters with Earth this century, none expected to pose a threat.
September 17, 2005 |
Bringing Japan's most complex space mission near its climax, a probe is within 12 miles of an asteroid almost 180 million miles from Earth in an unprecedented rendezvous designed to retrieve rocks from its surface. The Hayabusa probe, launched in May 2003, will hover around the asteroid before its brief encounter to recover the samples in early November. The asteroid is between Earth and Mars.