Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • Nearby Planet Nursery
    In an exclusive interview with Berkeley astronomer, Paul Kalas, he describes how their planet-finding team uncovered a nearby nursery that may include the closest star with an embryonic solar system in the making.
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  • Martian Moon Rock a Meteor?
    A meteor that fell in 1980 in Yemen has at least one Russian scientist believing that it's most likely origination point was the Martian moon, Phobos.
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  • New Planet, Magnified
    The gravity of a star can act as a lens, focusing and intensifying the light of a star behind it. The combined light from the two stars causes that point in the night sky to suddenly appear much brighter. For the first time, a
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  • Impact Risk Calculator
    A new online calculator can estimate the damage caused by asteroid strikes. When used to calibrate the dinosaur-killing strike 65 million years ago, what is now Houston would have been shaken by earthquakes and windy shockwaves.
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  • Extraterrestrial Sample Return
    The Genesis mission to capture solar wind and return about 20 micrograms to Earth completed its sampling last week. Set for a September 8th safe return, the probe's next phase features a dramatic helicopter grab out of mid-air. The helicopter-hook is intended to cushion an
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  • How Many Earths?
    About half of hundred solar systems with known planets may hold potential Earths. Simulating whether such stars and outer planets might eject an Earth-like world, the results also suggest another possibility, a habitable moon around a much larger Jupiter-like world.
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  • Spaceguard Redux, Put to Test
    A team of asteroid hunters discovered Monday night that the closest approach yet of a 30-meter object would pass Thursday inside the orbit of the Earth-Moon system. This size of asteroid gives little warning - three days notice--and is nearly half the diameter of
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  • Stardust Jets Millions of Miles
    The Stardust mission in early January took the highest resolution surface image of a comet yet. By superimposing the pockmarked surface against the background glowing jets of gas, scientists now hope to understand how comets literally evaporate into space as they orbit the Sun.
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  • Rosetta Picks Asteroid Targets
    The twelve-year Rosetta mission will culminate in landing on a comet. During its journey, close approaches to two asteroids will provide insight into questions of how the primitive solar system formed. Mission scientists announced that their fuel budget will allow flybys of the asteroids
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  • The Fungi Revived Damaged Earth
    The asteroid impact theory for mass extinctions supposes that the present Gulf of Mexico began as a 'wet' crater, eventually changing the climate enough to end the dinosaur's reign 65 million years ago.
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  • Hours to Impact
    Last January, astronomers thought an asteroid might hit the Earth. The asteroid AL00667 seemed to be on a direct course for the Northern Hemisphere, due to strike in two days or less.
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  • Rosetta Launches to Comet
    The Rosetta probe to land on a comet successfully launched from French Guiana on Tuesday morning. Its ten-year tour of the solar system features planetary and asteroid flybys which culminate in a dramatic touchdown on the icy-rock surface of a comet in 2014.
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  • Twin Comets to Debut
    In late spring, the rare double comets--LINEAR and NEAT--will be visible to the naked eye. Since these dirty iceballs are some of the most ancient debris from our solar system's formation, their appearance is of great interest for closer study by astrobiologists.
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  • Nearest Young Planet-forming Star Found
    The nearest, youngest star with dusty debris disk - the stuff from which planets form - has been found by Berkeley and Hawaii astronomers a mere 33 light-years away.
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  • A Good Planet Is Hard To Find?
    Harvard-Smithsonian astronomers have simulated the early planet formation around stars like our own. It turns out that an alien astronomer could have seen the embryonic Earth in its earliest dusty stages.
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