Articles about asteroid

‘Oumuamua artist's concept

From Vega with love: Pegasus interstellar asteroid's next stop

It's official: the Asteroid 1I/2017 U1, aka "‘Oumuamua", which screamed through the solar system in October 2017 is an interstellar object. And a very strange one at that.* The 400 metre long asteroid is moving fast – 38.3 km/second is its current sun-relative velocity – and has already passed Mars' orbit after sling-shotting …
alien

Interstellar space rock screams through Solar System

Astronomers have spotted an object that they believe came from another star system. The 400-metre-wide object – dubbed A/2017 U1 – was first spotted on October 19 after it slingshotted around the Sun. Analysis of its trajectory suggests it passed beneath Earth's orbit by about 24 million kilometers on October 14. Whatever it …
Iain Thomson, 27 Oct 2017
2012 TC4 - NASA impression

NASA readies its asteroid warning system for harmless flyby

With asteroid 2012 TC4 about to pass between Earth and the moon, NASA is gearing up for its much-anticipated live test of its warning system. Back in July, the approaching rock caused a brief flurry of speculation that an impact was imminent, before the European Space Agency issued a “calm down” statement. With error bars …

Signs of ground ice found on ancient protoplanet asteroid Vesta

Scientists have found evidence that there may be ground ice on Vesta, the brightest asteroid visible from Earth. It’s not the first time that ice has been detected on space rocks, and it adds credibility to the idea that asteroids may have brought water to Earth’s oceans. As asteroids crashed into Earth, the impact would have …
Katyanna Quach, 13 Sep 2017
NASA impression of asteroid Florence

Asteroid Florence buzzes Earth, brings two moons along for the ride

Be glad that the asteroid dubbed “Florence” won't revisit Earth for many, many years: observations during its weekend fly-by revealed that the space-rock is so big it's captured two moons. Sky-watchers have been waiting for Florence (officially 3122 Florence) for some time: it was first spotted in 1981 by astronomer Schelte …
asteroid

Cancel the farewell party. Get back to work. That asteroid isn't going to hit Earth in October

The European Space Agency has confirmed there is no danger of asteroid 2012 TC4 hitting Earth in October, despite what some panicky YouTube videos might tell you. The rock was spotted five years ago when it whizzed past Earth, missing us by 94,800 kilometres (58,900 miles). Last month NASA eggheads reckoned the asteroid may …
Iain Thomson, 10 Aug 2017
2012 TC4 - NASA impression

Scary news: Asteroid may pass Earth by just 6,880km in October

NASA's preparing another round asteroid defence tests, thanks to the October fly-by of a rock that may come within a cosmic whisker of the Earth. Update: The figures below were later revised by scientists. See our followup story, here. The original article continues below. Asteroid 2012 TC4 is said rock, and is between ten …
asteroid

NASA: Bring on the asteroid, so we can chuck a fridge at it

NASA has okayed one of its save-the-world-from-asteroids proposals to move to the preliminary design phase, on the way to a hoped-for launch early in the 2020s. If it goes ahead, the DART – Double Asteroid Redirection Test – will start with what the space agency describes as “a non-threatening small asteroid”. That way, …

Astroboffins dig into the weird backwards orbit of the Bee-Zed asteroid

Asteroid 2015 BZ509 – also known as Bee-Zed – is the only asteroid in our solar system with a confirmed retrograde orbit lasting 12 years; the same orbital period as Jupiter. The discovery was published in Nature in March by a team of physicists led by Paul Wiegert, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. …
Katyanna Quach, 29 Jun 2017
Psyche

Orbital boffins cut four years off NASA mission to shiniest object in the Solar System

NASA has come up with a cunning plan that will allow it to shave four years of flight time off its mission to the biggest chunk of visible iron in the Solar System, and will use souped-up solar power to get there. In January NASA approved the mission to send a probe out to the asteroid 16 Psyche, which is thought to be a …
Iain Thomson, 25 May 2017
OSIRIS-REx during construction. PIC: NASA

NASA fires first shot in plan to bring a chunk of asteroid down to Earth

NASA's asteroid-exploration mission OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has taken the left turn at Albuquerque on its way to a near-Earth space rock called Bennu. The agency says the burn of 354 kg of fuel (780 pounds) boosted the craft's velocity and put it on a trajectory for an Earth fly-by which will give OSIRIS-REx impart even more …
NASA Stereo Science Center asteroid image

Asteroid nearly gave Earth a new feature, two days after its discovery

On Saturday, the Catalina Sky Survey spotted a near-Earth asteroid of respectable heft – and today, it passed between us and the Moon. 2017 AG13 (the Minor Planet Center, MPC, entry is here) is about the size of a 10-storey building. Its velocity to Earth is 11 kilometres per second. It passed at 0.53 Lunar distance, or 203, …
asteroid mission

NASA plans seven-year trip to Jupiter – can we come with you, please?

Vid NASA has OKed two new missions to study some of the most interesting asteroids in our solar system, as part of its ongoing Discovery mission program. The first mission, named Lucy, will launch in October 2021 and will head off to the gas giant of Jupiter to explore its Trojan zones. These are two points on either side of the …
Iain Thomson, 5 Jan 2017
The PS1 telescope

NASA's asteroid orbit calculator spots a hot rock zipping past

NASA's pleased with its still-under-development asteroid-hunting program after it spotted a 25-metre rock that buzzed Earth at about 1.3 times the distance to the moon on the weekend. Observatories like the ten-year-old PAN-STARRS at Maui in Hawaii scan the skies looking for uncatalogued little dots that might or might not be …
Minor Planet Center image of 2016 QA2 orbit

Blink and you missed it: Asteroid came within 90,000 km, only one sky-watcher saw it

A small asteroid made a rare, close pass between Earth and the moon on August 28. 2016 QA2 is estimated by the Minor Planet Center (MPC) as being somewhere between 25 and 55 metres in diameter – so small that it nearly passed without notice. The MPC's note about the asteroid attributes its discovery to Brazil's SONEAR …

NASA to begin first asteroid sample mission: Seeks 'pristine' specimen

NASA is preparing for its first mission that will see a spacecraft retrieve a “pristine sample” of an asteroid so that it can be studied on Earth. The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will be launched on 8 September 7:05pm EDT (12:05 am BST) from Cape …
Katyanna Quach, 18 Aug 2016

Asteroid-sampling spacecraft prepped for September launch

NASA's improbably acronmyed* "Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security – Regolith Explorer" (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft has arrived at Florida's Kennedy Space Center ahead of a September launch on an asteroid-sampling mission. OSIRIS-REx will travel to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, arriving in 2018, and …
Lester Haines, 24 May 2016

Mars satellites show remains of massive tsunamis that ravaged Red Planet

Scientists think they have spotted the remains of two huge tsunamis on Mars caused by asteroids striking the planet back when it still had water. In a paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, the boffins say pictures from the imaging and radar satellites orbiting Mars show the effects of two separate asteroid strikes on …
Iain Thomson, 20 May 2016

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