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SCIENCE
May 18, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The biggest explosion ever recorded on the moon was caused by a space rock roughly the size of a beach ball. It weighed 80 pounds and was just over 1 foot wide, but it was going incredibly fast, traveling through space at speeds of 56,000 mph. And when it collided with the moon, it exploded with the force of 5 tons of TNT, sending off a flash of light bright enough to see from here on Earth. It was the largest explosion that scientists monitoring lunar impacts had ever witnessed, and it likely made a 65-foot wide hole in the already pock marked lunar surface.
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SCIENCE
April 22, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
If you think asteroid impacts are just the stuff of action movies, think again.  Since the year 2000, a powerful array of microphones has detected 26 nuclear-sized explosions in the Earth's atmosphere-- each the result of a space rock slamming into our planet. You can see where and when these impacts occurred, as well as how strong they were, in the video above. The new video was released by the B612 Foundation, a nonprofit that hopes to send a privately funded infrared telescope into space by 2018 to locate as many potentially dangerous asteroids as possible.  Most of us remain blissfully unaware of the pummeling the Earth gets on a regular basis because the force released by most asteroid impacts is absorbed entirely by our atmosphere and rarely causes much damage at ground level.
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SCIENCE
May 24, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden dropped by JPL on Thursday to outline the agency's plans to capture an asteroid, and to look at a model of a powerful new ion thruster that has enough strength to drag a space rock into orbit around the moon. NASA unveiled a multistep plan to rendezvous with a smallish asteroid, put it in what looks like a giant reflective garbage bag, and bring it into lunar orbit, earlier this year. Once the space rock is in a stable orbit around the moon, astronauts could land on it and bring small chunks of it back to Earth.
SCIENCE
March 6, 2014 | By Deborah Netburn
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.
SCIENCE
February 24, 2014 | By Amina Khan
For a brief moment last September, a flash on the moon shone about as bright as the North Star, Polaris,  giving away the biggest crash from a space rock hitting the lunar surface ever caught on camera, astronomers say. The discovery -- "the brightest and longest confirmed impact flash," according to the study authors -- was detailed in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and reveals that perhaps 10 times as many small rocky bodies...
WORLD
February 16, 2013 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
MOSCOW - As Russian authorities searched Saturday for remnants of the space object that startled residents of the southern Ural Mountain region a day earlier, scientists called its shock wave a loud warning that they hoped would inspire action to prevent potential catastrophes. "When a small piece of rock would fall on the Earth 100 years ago, it could have caused minimal damage and would have stayed largely undetected, but Friday's accident fully demonstrated how vulnerable the technological civilization of today has become," Vladimir Lipunov, head of the Space Monitoring Laboratory with Moscow State University, said in an interview.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 7, 2011 | By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
Rising from the desert scrub and pointed toward the heavens, NASA's gargantuan radio telescope on Monday fired a beam of microwaves at the largest asteroid to pass near Earth in decades in an effort to map the craggy surface and, possibly, reveal the primordial ingredients of life. The 1,300-foot-wide asteroid will be nearest Earth on Tuesday, close enough to be inside the moon's orbit but far enough away to be invisible to the naked eye and pose no danger. The giant space rock's flyby is being tracked by amateur and professional astronomers across the globe, including a team of NASA scientists at the controls of the Deep Space Network antenna in the Mojave Desert outside of Barstow and the Arecibo Planetary Radar Facility in Puerto Rico.
NATIONAL
March 19, 2004 | From Times Wire Reports
A 100-foot-wide space rock hurtled past Earth only 26,500 miles away -- the closest asteroid ever detected by astronomers before it actually made its approach. The harmless flyby occurred at 2:08 p.m. PST. "We figure that on average, something this size hits the Earth every two to three years," said astronomer Paul Chodas of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program. "We've never detected them out in space, either approaching or receding. This is the closest."
SCIENCE
September 10, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The primordial soup of the early Earth may have been more chemically rich and complex than previously thought, according to new analysis of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, a space rock that exploded over California in 2012.  In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers say they have discovered organic molecules in the Sutter's Mill specimen never before seen in a meteorite, and that those compounds could...
SCIENCE
June 8, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
An asteroid the size of a truck zipped past Earth on Friday night, and you probably missed it. Asteroid 2013 LR6 is 30 feet in length, or a bit more than half the size of the space rock that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February. It made its closest approach to our planet on Friday night at 9:42 p.m. PDT, according to a release from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. At that time, the asteroid was just 65,000 miles from the Earth's surface, or about a quarter of the average distance between Earth and the moon.
SCIENCE
February 24, 2014 | By Amina Khan
For a brief moment last September, a flash on the moon shone about as bright as the North Star, Polaris,  giving away the biggest crash from a space rock hitting the lunar surface ever caught on camera, astronomers say. The discovery -- "the brightest and longest confirmed impact flash," according to the study authors -- was detailed in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society and reveals that perhaps 10 times as many small rocky bodies...
SCIENCE
November 6, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Scientists studying the dramatic Chelyabinsk meteor that screamed through Russian skies this year have both good and bad news to report. The good news: The February fireball's damage wasn't nearly as terrible as predicted. The bad news? Near-Earth object impacts could be about 10 times more common than we thought they were. The results, presented in one of three studies published in the journals Nature and Science, show that scientists on the ground may have to reevaluate how we predict both the frequency of such impacts and our understanding of how they behave when they enter our atmospheres.
SCIENCE
October 16, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Divers at a Russian lake have pulled out a 5-foot-wide, half-ton hunk of meteorite from the Chelyabinsk meteor that streaked across skies in February. The large black fragment, weighing more than half a ton, smashed a nearly 20-foot-wide hole into the ice covering Lake Chebarkul. It could potentially be the most massive fragment of the dramatic fireball captured on video across the region, and researchers are calling it a once in a lifetime moment. “It's a once-in-a-100-year event.
SCIENCE
September 12, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
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!"
SCIENCE
September 11, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Live streaming video by Ustream NASA officials will discuss updates to the agency's audacious plan to capture an asteroid, and you can tune into the conversation live on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. PDT, right here. The discussion will be live streamed in the video box above from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' Space Conference and Exposition in San Diego. The asteroid redirect mission may sound like science fiction, but some of the smartest people at NASA are working hard to make it reality.
SCIENCE
September 11, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
A spacecraft blasts off from Earth, zips by the moon and nine days later rendezvous with an asteroid that has been neatly bagged and placed in a lunar orbit. Those are just some of the highlights from NASA's new Asteroid Redirect Mission concept video. The space agency released a video this week depicting how it might get an astronaut within arm's reach of an asteroid, then chip off a few chunks from its surface and bring them home to Earth. QUIZ: How much do you know about asteroids?
SCIENCE
January 12, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
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.
SCIENCE
September 11, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Live streaming video by Ustream NASA officials will discuss updates to the agency's audacious plan to capture an asteroid, and you can tune into the conversation live on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. PDT, right here. The discussion will be live streamed in the video box above from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' Space Conference and Exposition in San Diego. The asteroid redirect mission may sound like science fiction, but some of the smartest people at NASA are working hard to make it reality.
SCIENCE
September 10, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The primordial soup of the early Earth may have been more chemically rich and complex than previously thought, according to new analysis of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, a space rock that exploded over California in 2012.  In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers say they have discovered organic molecules in the Sutter's Mill specimen never before seen in a meteorite, and that those compounds could...
SCIENCE
August 21, 2013 | By Amina Khan
The earliest known iron beads may come from ancient Egyptian tombs, but they were forged from the hearts of meteorites, scientists say. The findings, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, show that humans might have begun working with iron from space long before they managed to unlock iron in the Earth.  The beads were excavated in 1911 from separate tombs of two teen boys in a cemetery in Gerzeh, in northern Egypt. Nine strange iron beads among their precious contents were parceled out to museums around Europe that had helped fund the expedition.
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