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Hot Topic Solar System Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Asteroid Headed Our Way
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
In mid-October, an asteroid will pass within four million miles of Earth. The object is 150 feet in diameter and was detected when it was 20 million miles away. The discovery is a step forward in our ability to monitor the sky for objects that could strike the Earth with enough force to damage the climate and biosphere of our planet.

Rosetta Should Look South for a Landing Site
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Scientists have determined that ESA's Rosetta mission needs to deliver its lander to a site in the southern hemisphere of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. A site in this region will be the safest and most scientifically interesting according to the recent study.

Asteroid Cornucopia
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
New data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope is helping astronomers better understand near-Earth objects. The study is of interest to astrobiology because asteroids could have played an important role in the origin and evolution of life on Earth.

Asteroids Live in Their Own Little Worlds
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
A new study shows that asteroids are constantly changing "little worlds" that can give birth to smaller asteroids. Studying asteroids is important because asteroid impacts could have played an important role in the origin of life, and may still affect the future habitability of Earth.

The Impact that Shattered Santa Fe
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
A large meteorite impact can have a profound effect on life. The explosive force is often compared to a nuclear detonation, and the debris tossed high into the atmosphere can alter our planet´s climate. In the mountains of New Mexico, scientists have found evidence for an ancient meteorite strike -- even though the impact crater is long gone.

Asteroid Impact in 2182?
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Scientists have reported there is a one-in-a-thousand chance of an asteroid colliding with the Earth in the year 2182. Asteroid '(101955) 1999 RQ36' is 560 meters in diameter and could cause major problems no matter where it hit on the planet.

WISE Discovers over 90 Near-Earth Objects
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, completed its first survey of the entire sky. Among the more than one million images of everything from asteroids to distant galaxies, WISE has discovered over 90 near-Earth objects.

Hayabusa Contains a Hint of Dust
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
The sample return canister from the Hayabusa spacecraft has been opened, and does contain a small amount of dust, possibly from the asteroid Itokawa. Studying samples from an asteroid can help astrobiologists determine if impacts delivered materials important to the origins of life on the early Earth.

Not a Comet, but Fungus, Fire and Fecal Pellets
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
New findings challenge a theory that the cooling period known as the Younger Dryas was caused by an impact. What was previously thought to be geologic evidence of intense heating at the time has now been shown to be fossilized balls of fungus, charcoal and fecal pellets.

Our Comets, Celestial Wanderers?
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
A new theory suggests that many comets, including ones like Halley and Hale-Bopp, may have been formed around other stars before traveling to our solar system. Understanding the origin of comets can help us understand how these objects from space may have played a role in delivering materials to the early Earth.

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