Results tagged “asteroids”

Astronomers have discovered an asteroid looping through the inner solar system on an exotic orbit.

Why We Care About Space Rocks

The entire history of human existence is a tiny blip in our solar system's 4.5-billion-year history.

Investigating the earliest and least known phases of the history of the Solar System, when the young Sun was still enveloped by the disk of gas and dust where its planets began to form, is probably one of the most complex challenges in modern planetary science.

New observations by three of the world's largest radio telescopes have revealed that an asteroid discovered last year is actually two objects, each about 3,000 feet (900 meters) in size, orbiting each other.

These images were taken by ESO's SPHERE (Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch) instrument, installed on ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the Paranal Observatory, Chile.

Like rude relatives who jump in front your vacation snapshots of landscapes, some of our solar system's asteroids have photobombed deep images of the universe taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

Radar images of asteroid 3122 Florence obtained at the 70-meter antenna at NASA's Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex between August 29 and September 1 have revealed that the asteroid has two small moons.

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission has released its second year of survey data. The spacecraft has now characterized a total of 439 NEOs since the mission was re-started in December 2013. Of these, 72 were new discoveries.

NASA has formalized its ongoing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO).

The final approach to an asteroid has been practised for ESA's proposed Asteroid Impact Mission using a real spacecraft camera mounted on a robot arm.

Reports about NASA's routine detection and tracking of near-Earth objects (NEOs) may not be as exciting as Hollywood scenarios of asteroid impact disasters, but NEO detection and tracking is a 24/7 job the agency and its partners takes seriously.

Asteroids Pound A Tiny Star

Scientists using CSIRO's Parkes telescope and another telescope in South Africa have found evidence that a tiny star called PSR J0738-4042 is being pounded by asteroids -- large lumps of rock from space.

Our solar system seems like a neat and orderly place, with small, rocky worlds near the Sun and big, gaseous worlds farther out, all eight planets following orbital paths unchanged since they formed.

NASA announced Tuesday a Grand Challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them. The challenge is a large-scale effort that will use multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships with other government agencies, international partners, industry, academia, and citizen scientists. It complements NASA's recently announced mission to redirect an asteroid and send humans to study it.

Rock on - A charitable foundation is to launch the first private, scientific space mission, Economist

"Budget cuts have hit NASA's science missions hard. NEOCam is not certain to fly, and the foundation worries that, although NASA has already catalogued most of the biggest, civilisation-ending asteroids, thousands of smaller rocks, of similar dimensions to the one that exploded over Siberia, remain undetected. If one were to hit the wrong part of the planet it would cause a catastrophe. Hence the shift in focus from deflection to discovery. Sentinel's mission will be broadly similar to NEOCam's. Both telescopes will have 50cm mirrors. Both will scan the sky in the infra-red spectrum, where dark but comparatively warm asteroids should show up brightly against the cold of deep space. Both will inhabit orbits between Earth and the sun, in order to get the best possible vantage point. The foundation's ambition is to produce an asteroid map that records 90% of near-Earth objects that are more than 140 metres across, and half of those bigger than 50 metres. Armed with data on their orbits and velocities, astronomers should be able to calculate which pose a threat over the coming century or so."

B612 Foundation Announces First Privately Funded Deep Space Mission

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Move An Asteroid 2012

Move An Asteroid 2012: International Student and Young Professional Technical Paper Competition

"Thousands of astronomers across the world are on a daily search for undiscovered asteroids and comets, some of which, large or small, may hit the Earth in the future. Thankfully, the kilometer sized asteroids seen in movies that are large enough to cause mass-extinctions are incredibly rare. However, 10 to 100 meter rocks are big enough to destroy a city and hit roughly every 100 years, with the last recorded one 104 years ago (the Tunguska Event). With the latest technology, it is now possible to spot some of these smaller sized objects with enough time for missions to be launched and warnings to be sent out. This competition challenges students and young professionals worldwide to come up with original ideas relating to Earth-threatening Near Earth Objects (NEOs)."

Crowdsourcing Asteroid Detection

Amateur astronomers boost ESA's asteroid hunt

"A partnership with the UK's Faulkes Telescope Project promises to boost the Agency's space hazards research while helping students to discover potentially dangerous space rocks. ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme is keeping watch over space hazards, including disruptive space weather, debris objects in Earth orbit and asteroids that pass close enough to cause concern. The asteroids - known as 'near-Earth objects', or NEOs, since they cross Earth's orbit - are a particular problem. Any attempt to survey and catalogue hazardous asteroids faces a number of difficulties. They're often jet black or at least very dark, they can approach rather too close before anyone sees them, and they're often spotted only once and then disappear before the discovery can be confirmed."

A new NASA outreach project will enlist the help of amateur astronomers to discover near-Earth objects (NEOs) and study their characteristics. NEOs are asteroids with orbits that occasionally bring them close to the Earth.

The following article is a free sample from the current issue of Space Quarterly Magazine. It is our hope that if you enjoy this article you will consider subscribing to the magazine.

Amateur Skywatchers Help ESA's Space Hazards Team

"For the first time, observations coordinated by ESA's space hazards team have found an asteroid that comes close enough to Earth to pose an impact threat. The space rock was found by amateur astronomers, highlighting the value of 'crowd-sourcing' to science and planetary defence. The discovery of asteroid 2011 SF108 was made by the volunteer Teide Observatory Tenerife Asteroid Survey (TOTAS) team during an observation slot sponsored by ESA's Space Situational Awareness (SSA) programme in September."

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