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Hot Topic Solar System Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Asteroid Sample Headed for Earth
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
On June 13, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency is expecting the delivery of a sample return capsule from the near-Earth asteroid, Itokawa. The samples could help astrobiologists understand the role of asteroids in delivering materials to Earth that were important in the origin of life.

The Walt Whitman Meteor Mystery
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
In Leaves of Grass, famed poet Walt Whitman wrote of a "strange huge meteor-procession." Now, using forensic astronomy, researchers may have rediscovered one of the most famous celestial events of Whitman's day.

Asteroid Provides Clues to Earth's Oceans
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
The first-ever discovery of ice and organic molecules on an asteroid may hold clues to the origins of Earth's oceans and life 4 billion years ago. Researchers detected a thin layer of water ice and organic molecules on the surface of a large asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.

Study Counters Clovis Comet
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
A team of researchers has re-examined data concerning the Pleistocene extinction that occurred 13,000 years ago. Their work may show that the extinctions of animals like mammoths and saber tooth cats in North America were not caused by an extraterrestrial impact.

The Deadly Sting of a Comet Tail
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
According to a new study, thousands of Tunguska-sized comet fragments may have struck the Earth 13,000 years ago, causing dramatic cooling in just one hour. The study points out how extraterrestrial events can cause catastrophic changes in the Earth's climate and biosphere.

Interrogating the Asteroid
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Researchers have proposed a new sample-return mission to visit the asteroid 1999 RQ36. Such a mission could help us learn how to move an asteroid that's set on a collision course with Earth.

It Had To Be an Asteroid
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
According to a comprehensive review of all the available evidence, the extinction of the dinosaurs and half the species on Earth was caused by an asteroid colliding with our planet. A panel of 41 international experts reviewed 20 years' worth of data to determine the cause of the KT extinction.

Toxic Shock
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
Asteroid impacts may not only account for extinctions in the oceans and on land 65 million years ago. According to new research, the resulting dust, darkness and toxic metal contamination following impact may also be responsible for the unevenness of extinctions and recovery following the impact event.

Shooting Meteorites in a Barrel
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
High-impact lab experiments simulate whether the building blocks of life could have survived the rough arrival on Earth via meteorite impact.

Stardust Burns For Comet
Topic: Meteorites, Comets and Asteroids
NASA's Stardust spacecraft was the first to collect samples from a comet and return them to Earth. Now, the spacecraft is preparing for another cometary visit. The craft is now scheduled to perform a flyby of the comet Tempel 1 in 2011.

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