Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • 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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  • Asteroid Riddling
    University of Arizona and Japanese scientists are convinced that evidence at last settles decades-long arguments about what objects bombarded the early inner solar system in a cataclysm 3.9 billion years ago.
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  • Comet Cookbook
    When Deep Impact smashed into comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005, it released the ingredients of our solar system's primordial "soup." Now, astronomers using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Deep Impact have analyzed that soup and begun to come up with a
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  • Snowball Ceres?
    Observations of 1 Ceres, the largest known asteroid, have revealed that the object may be a "mini planet," and may contain large amounts of pure water ice beneath its surface.
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  • Painting Comets
    Painting by the numbers is a good description of how scientists create pictures of everything from atoms in our bodies to asteroids and comets in our solar system. Researchers involved in NASA's Deep Impact mission have been doing this kind of work since the mission's
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