Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • 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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    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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