Meteorites,Comets and Asteroids

  • New Year Invites Wild Bash
    When it completes its mission, the Stardust spacecraft will have travelled three billion miles to return an extraterrestrial sample to the Utah desert. As its primary mission to capture comet dust nears on January 2nd, the anticipation of thousands of tiny space rocks from
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  • Extraterrestrial Capture
    In the next few days, a bullet-speed spacecraft called Stardust will pass through the wispy tail of a comet, capture about an ounce of its delicate particles, and then begin its return voyage back to Earth.
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  • Catching Comet Dust
    The Stardust spacecraft prepares to fly into the stormy coma of the comet Wild 2 on Friday, ending a five-year wait. The spacecraft will "kiss the comet's dust," collecting enough of the tiny grains to bring back to Earth for analysis.
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  • Guts of Comet Encounter
    If University of Washington's Don Brownlee has a New Year's resolution, it is likely to have something to do with meeting a comet.
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  • Vega’s Likeness for New Planets
    Astronomers at the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Councils UK Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC) at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh have produced compelling new evidence that Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky, has a planetary system around it which is more like our
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  • Repeated Blows: The Great Dying
    Nearly a quarter-billion years ago, life on Earth almost disappeared. Called the Great Dying, the precise cause of why 70-90% of all terrestrial species might become extinct, challenges geologists, paleontologists and climatologists.
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  • Sprinkling Stardust
    On Jan. 2, 2004, the spacecraft called Stardust will fly within 75 miles of a cometary main body (called Wild-2), close enough to trap small particles from the coma, the gas-and-dust envelope surrounding the comet's nucleus. The spacecraft already has sighted its cometary target.
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  • Leonid Meteors, 2003
    This year's encounter between the Earth's orbit and the dust trail of a comet will promise fewer mid-November meteors to view.
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  • Lunacy: Finding New Moons?
    The technology required to find a planet outside our solar system boggles the imagination: the star itself is typically a billion times brighter than the planet, which gets lost in its host's glare. But with more than one hundred such planets now logged, can a
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  • Habitability: Betting on 37 Gem
    What star meets the current best guesses for habitability? This fascinating question is part of an ongoing research survey, in preparation for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder mission. The answer, according to the largest such classification so far attempted, is the 37th brightest star in
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  • Spaceguard: Five Years
    The 1998 initiative called Spaceguard aims to survey 90% of the near-earth objects, including those that might pose a potential collision risk. At its halfway point, after five years, a new NASA study suggests to extend its goals to include even smaller risks than a
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  • Discovering New Worlds
    Few modern scientific adventures can rival what is currently the task of those discovering new planets. While most of the hundred or so new worlds found so far have been found using the planet's inferred influence on its parent star's gravitational wobble, a few have
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  • Reading Rosetta
    The first mission to land a man-made object on surface of comet is slated for launch early next year. The mission, called Rosetta, seeks to understand mysterious nature of these icy rocks. Scientists have a number of challenges in accomplishing this feat, not least of
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  • Coma for Halley’s Comet
    Seventeen years after the last passage of Comet Halley, the Very Large Telescope at Paranal (Chile) has captured a unique image of this famous object as it cruises through the outer solar system. It is completely inactive in this cold environment.
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  • Star Bright: Part II
    In Part I of this article, the differences between typical stars, brown dwarfs and sub-brown dwarfs were discussed. Stars have a mass of 75 Jupiters or greater, brown dwarfs have a mass between 13 and 75 Jupiters, and sub-brown dwarfs are less than 13 Jupiter
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