Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • Normal Star, Smallest New Planet
    Using an armada of telescopes, an international team of astronomers has found the smallest planet ever detected around a normal star outside our solar system.
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  • Cracking Open a Vault
    Travel with Aaron Gronstal on a drilling expedition in Chesapeake Bay, the site of a 35 million-year-old impact crater. This portion of his journal is part 2 of a 4-part series.
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  • Veritable Covering of Dust
    Scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), and Charles University in the Czech Republic have made the first positive link between a breakup event in the main asteroid belt and a large quantity of interplanetary dust particles deposited on Earth.
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  • Dissecting Stardust
    When the Stardust sample return capsule returned safely home, mission scientists breathed a sigh of relief. When they opened the capsule, they gasped in delight. Now, they are whistling a happy tune as they examine the many microscopic bits of comet dust.
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  • Stardust: Cometary Paydirt
    Scientists at the Johnson Space Center in Houston were excited and awed by what they saw when the sample-return canister from the Stardust spacecraft was opened. Stardust returned to Earth in a spectacular re-entry early Sunday after a 7-year mission to collect particles from
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  • Stardust Safely Home
    The Stardust mission ended not with a bang Sunday morning, but with the soft thud of the sample return capsule parachuting down to a muddy Utah field. The capsule contains interstellar dust particles and samples of the comet Wild 2.
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  • Sampling Stardust on Sunday
    This weekend, the Stardust spacecraft will return to Earth after a 7-year, 2.88-billion-mile journey.
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  • ET: The Exoplanet Tracker
    Astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting a very young star nearly 100 light years away using a relatively small, publicly accessible telescope turbocharged with a new planet-finding instrument.
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  • Stardust’s Return
    Samples of the comet Wild 2 will come down to Earth on January 15, 2006. But what kind of shape will they be in? Worries about the sample return capsule's parachutes - and memories of the Genesis mission - add nail-biting drama to
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  • Long-Distance Troubleshooting
    Japanese officials are struggling to fix a horde of problems plaguing the Hayabusa space mission in time to begin its journey back to Earth with or without a package of specimens that were supposed to have been collected from the surface of asteroid Itokawa late
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  • The Little Spacecraft That Could
    With a maneuver compared to landing a jumbo jet in a moving Grand Canyon, Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft touched down on the surface of the asteroid Itokawa and collected a sample. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced the success several hours after its bird had
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  • Icy Dirtballs not Dirty Snowballs
    Observations of Comet 9P/Tempel 1 made by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft after the Deep Impact collision suggest that comets are 'icy dirtballs', rather than 'dirty snowballs' as previously believed.
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  • Sunshine on Comets: Part 2
    Jessica Sunshine is the Deep Impact mission scientist responsible for the onboard infrared spectrometer. In the second half of this two-part interview, she discusses whether Deep Impact has altered our ideas of how comets are formed and how important they've been in Earth's history.
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  • Sunshine on Comets: Part I
    Jessica Sunshine is the Deep Impact mission scientist responsible for the onboard infrared spectrometer. In the first half of this two-part interview, she discusses what the comet's nucleus looked like before and after impact, and explains why it's so difficult to piece together the
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  • Don’t Judge a Comet by its Cover
    When NASA's Deep Impact mission ploughed into comet 9P/Tempel 1 on July 4th of this year, the giant telescopes on Mauna Kea had a unique view of the massive cloud of dust, gas and ice expelled during the collision.
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