Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • A Meteor’s Protective Bubbles?
    To survive its fiery descent through a planet's atmosphere, hitching a ride inside a protective carbon bubble may have improved the survival chances of organic life if it came from interplanetary fragments.
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    The panelists discuss the search for near-Earth asteroids, and the damage that small impacts inflict compared to larger impacts.
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    The media and others place a great deal of emphasis on the threat of asteroid and comet impacts. Is that attention unwarranted?
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  • Murchison’s Amino Acids: Tainted Evidence?
    Few meteorite discoveries can rival the one that fell in 1969, just 60 miles north of Melbourne, Australia. Called the Murchison meteorite, the rock's interior showed signs of the protein building blocks of life.
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    What is the scientific value in studying asteroids and comets?
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  • Meteoric Image Pack
    Few night-sky events engage one's fascination like the chance streaks of meteoric lights. This week's selected image gallery displays some of the most memorable and important astrobiological events ever captured on film.
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  • Comet Samplers
    From a remote vacation village in Canada, came a thunderclap that after three years of study, astrobiologists are still fascinated with trying to understand.
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  • Touchdown Asteroid
    Landing on an asteroid, while a thrilling ride for a science team, can be compared to liting a fly onto a splayed bullet.
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  • Planet Found Orbiting Red Giant
    A new planet has been discovered in the southern constellation, Canis Major (The Great Dog). The Jupiter-like planet orbits a Red Giant star--more than 400 light-years away and the second most distant planetary system yet.
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  • Complex Life, By Jove!
    What role did Jupiter play in the development of complex life on Earth? Understanding this question - and determining how many other Jupiter-mass planets are out there - might help us estimate the likelihood of finding life elsewhere in the galaxy.
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  • New World of Iron Rain
    Discover the remarkable new planet that has a year that lasts a terrestrial day, and rains down not water, but iron. The discovery is made possible by a planetary detection method--called a transit search--where the parent star dims as the orbitting planets pass across
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  • Water Worlds
    Italian astronomers report on a method for water detection on extrasolar planets and cometary clouds, and their shortlist of candidates with promising initial findings from the 32-meter Medicina radio telescope.
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  • Extinctions: Interview with Andrew Knoll Part II
    "Progress is a very loaded term for people who study the philosophy of biology," says Harvard's Andrew Knoll. In part II of the interview, find out the role of extinction in evolution. "...the central fact of our planet, as far as biology is
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  • Gravity’s Telescope
    Using a technique known as "gravitational microlensing", astronomers hope to find planets in Earth-like orbits around stars halfway across the galaxy.
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  • Weighing In on Other Planets
    An international team of astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to help make a precise measurement of the mass of a planet outside our solar system.
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