Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • Harpooning a Comet
    The Rosetta mission planners have announced that after an indefinite launch delay earlier this year, their goal of landing on a comet is back on track. Their new baseline target is a rendezvous with the comet, Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in November 2014.
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  • The 601st Earth Asteroid Impact
    Researchers at UCSC simulated a possible outcome of an impact by asteroid 1950DA when it passes near Earth in year 2880. There is 0.3% chance of impact during encounter. In the event that strikes in the Atlantic, they predict that 60,000 megaton blast would create
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  • Celestial Birthing Grounds: Wild Places
    A University of Florida sky survey has doubled the number of planet forming disks in a cluster of young stars, and suggests that planets may pop up within the first 3 million years of a star's life.
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  • Meteor Astronomers: Looking Down Into Earth
    Did a massive asteroid impact 500 million years ago scatter meteors towards Earth and play billiards with terrestrial geology? A Rice University researcher has shown that a rain of rocks in a Swedish quarry supports this contention.
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  • Two-Way Asteroid Trip Takes Off
    The Japanese spaceprobe called Muses-C launched Friday, to begin its four and a half year roundtrip to return samples of an asteroid back to Earth. The mission highlights the highly-efficient ion engine, along with a unique bullet and sample-horn method of returning extraterrestrial rocks and
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  • Eureka, The New World
    Planet-finding scientist, Geoff Marcy, describes just how it feels to find a new world. The UC Berkeley researcher describes the challenges and thrills of modern sky searches.
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  • Hot New Eclipsing World Discovered
    Planet finding scientists have logged more than a hundred discoveries of new 'worlds' since the middle 1990s, but only two probable candidates have been found from changes in the parent star's brightness. Akin to a distant eclipse, this method is called a transit search.
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  • New Planet Found, Big Dog Constellation
    A new planet has been found orbitting a Sun-like star in the southern constellation, Canis Major. The planet is about twice the size of Jupiter, and orbits so close that its annual 'season' is over in just two and half days.
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  • Tale of a Comet
    In the next five years, no fewer than five spacecraft will attempt to rendezvous with a comet or asteroid. More than 125 years ago, the visionary author, Jules Verne, described his own incredible version of how astronomers might explore the solar system--from a unique cometary
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  • First Light on New Planet Finder
    Atop a Chilean mountain- in the driest place on Earth- a new telescope promises to seek out distant stars that harbor planets. 'First light' showed that a star's velocity can be detected with the astonishing accuracy equivalent to the speed of a pedestrian's walk (within
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  • Poof! How to Evaporate a Planet
    Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have observed for the first time the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system evaporating into space.
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    In the final part of this series, the debate participants respond to questions posed by our readers. Such questions include: "Are nuclear detonations, such as those depicted in the movie 'Armageddon', the best way to divert asteroids?"
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    How we could respond to the threat of an asteroid heading for Earth, and what sort of projects would best serve future NEO goals?
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  • 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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