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Hot Topic Solar System Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
July Fourth: Crashing the Party
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Having a comet run into your spacecraft sounds like a catastrophe, but Deep Impact mission scientists are hoping for just such an event. They have sent their spacecraft out on a collision course with comet Tempel 1.

Choked in Dust
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Looking at a star similar to our sun, the Spitzer Space Telescope has detected a dusty inner solar system. Violent collisions within a large asteroid belt may be generating all this dust. Such an asteroid belt also would present a danger to any habitable planets orbiting the star.

Dawn to Split Asteroid Differences
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
It's called Dawn, and in a little more than a year, this spacecraft will blast off from Florida, bound for two separate asteroids: Vesta and Ceres. Visiting the two most massive asteroids in our Solar System will be an ambitious undertaking; maybe one of the most difficult and dangerous orbital missions attempted.

Comet Blaster Blasts Off
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
The Deep Impact spacecraft launched today and is now on its way to a rendezvous with comet Tempel 1. On July 4th, a specially designed impact spacecraft will detach from the mothership and crash head-on into the comet.

Poor Man's Space Probe
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
To see the world in a grain of sand has a resonant poetry when astronomers try to understand the rain of dust and meteors that blanket the Earth daily. It turns out that doing astronomy with a microscope has its benefits, particularly when the extraterrestrial samples arrive at our doorstep.

Cometary Big Dig
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
The Deep Impact mission will send a large copper projectile crashing into the surface of a comet at more than 20,000 miles per hour, creating a huge crater and revealing never before seen materials and the internal compostion and structure of a comet.

Shiva: Another K-T impact?
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Most scientists believe a large meteorite impact in the Yucatan Peninsula led to the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But could a second, larger impact off the coast of India share the blame?

Multiple Impacts?
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
The Chicxulub meteorite impact is largely credited with the extinction of 50 percent of the world's species, including the dinosaurs. But could there have been more than one meteorite impact 65 million years ago?

Debating the Dinosaur Extinction
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
At least 50 percent of the world's species, including the dinosaurs, went extinct 65 million years ago. While most scientists now blame this catastrophe on a large meteorite impact, others wonder if there is more to the story.

The Forensics of Genesis
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Within the next few months, the scientific community will get a first look at the recovered samples from the Genesis probe. In the best cases 85-100 percent of some samples will be recovered intact and in other cases, forensics will be needed to understand the sample history.
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