CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 30, 1991 |
The Galileo spacecraft made history Tuesday when it became the first spacecraft to encounter an asteroid, a cold chunk of rock and metal left over from the formation of the solar system. Galileo passed within 1,000 miles of Gaspra, snapping pictures as it sailed toward the asteroid at a relative velocity of 17,900 m.p.h., but it will be a year before scientists know whether their photos are any good.
November 21, 2005 |
A Japanese research probe failed to touch down on an asteroid after developing trouble just yards away from the surface, Japan's space agency said. The orbiting Hayabusa probe was on a mission to briefly touch down on the asteroid, collect material and bring it back to Earth. Ground control lost contact with Hayabusa for about three hours after it descended to 56 feet from the asteroid's surface, officials from Japan's space agency said.
November 27, 2005 |
A Japanese spacecraft showed signs of trouble after leaving an asteroid where it had been sent to collect surface samples to bring back to Earth, officials said. The Hayabusa probe, hovering about three miles from the asteroid, appeared to be shaking, possibly because of a gas leak from a thruster, said Atsushi Akoh, a spokesman for Japan's space agency, JAXA.
May 22, 2004 |
Astronomers at Flagstaff's Lowell Observatory have discovered an asteroid whose orbit around the sun lies entirely within the Earth's orbit, making it only the second such known object. The asteroid, known as 2004 JG6, orbits the sun in six months and, on average, is closer to the sun that any other object in the solar system except Mercury.
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.
January 1, 2005 |
Additional observations have ruled out the chance that a recently discovered asteroid, believed to be about 1,300 feet long, could hit Earth in 2029, NASA scientists said this week. Last week, asteroid 2004 MN4 had been given a small chance of hitting Earth, based on observations this month and in June. Spacewatch Observatory near Tucson found faint pictures of the asteroid in images dating to March 15.
February 18, 1996 |
NASA launched a spacecraft on a three-year voyage to an asteroid that may contain clues to the birth of the solar system. A Delta rocket blasted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida with the probe, called NEAR, for Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous. The NEAR spacecraft is on a 1.3-billion-mile trip to Eros. It should reach it in February 1999 and will orbit for nearly a year, flying as close as 10 miles to its rocky surface.
February 18, 2000 |
Eros, the first asteroid to be orbited by a man-made satellite, is very old, heavily cratered, strewn with large boulders and slightly yellow in color, according to new images from a science spacecraft. Early data from a yearlong orbit of Eros by the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous spacecraft suggest that the asteroid is a solid rocky body that once may have been part of a larger body, such as a moon or planet.
August 29, 1993 |
After a hellish week with the apparently doomed Mars Observer probe, NASA finally got some good news Saturday as the handicapped Galileo spacecraft explored asteroid Ida on its way to Jupiter. "We feel wonderful and greatly relieved," said Bill O'Neil, project manager of the $1.4-billion Galileo mission run by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. "I really feel good having this past us and having a big plus mark today following not-so-good news earlier in the week."
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 Canada Flintridge, put the chances that it will hit the Red Planet on Jan.