Tag Archives | Asteroid


Latest images of Ceres show detail of bright spot

New images of the dwarf planet Ceres, taken from 2,700 miles above by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, show the surface of this mysterious world in sharper detail than ever before. The new images are of the brightest spots, which are located in a crater about 55 miles across. The largest bright area in this crater is […]

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Niacin: the vitamin from outer space

Niacin, or vitamin B3, could have been delivered to Earth by carbon-rich meteorites, say NASA researchers, whose findings support a theory that the emergence of life on Earth may have been assisted by a supply of key molecules created in space and brought to Earth by comet and meteor impacts. “Vitamin B3, also called nicotinic […]

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Water vapor plumes observed erupting from dwarf planet

The Herschel space observatory has used its far-infrared capabilities to capture a clear spectral signature of water vapor venting from the largest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres. Ceres is classified as a dwarf planet, a body bigger than an asteroid and smaller than a planet. “This is the first time water vapor has been […]

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“Freakish” asteroid resembles rotating lawn sprinkler

Using the Hubble space telescope, astronomers have discovered a “weird and freakish object” resembling a rotating lawn sprinkler in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Unlike all other known asteroids, which appear simply as tiny points of light, this asteroid, designated P/2013 P5, has six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like spokes […]

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Ancient asteroid caused global firestorm on Earth

A new analysis of conditions after a Manhattan-sized asteroid slammed into Mexico in the dinosaur era indicates the event triggered a global firestorm that would have burned every twig, bush and tree on Earth and led to the extinction of 80 percent of all Earth’s species. The new research, from the University of Colorado Boulder, […]

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Extinction of dinosaurs a given thanks to fragility of their ecosystem

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the ecological structure of dinosaur communities made them sitting ducks for extinction after the Chicxulub asteroid impact 65 million years ago. For the study, scientists from the University of Chicago, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Field Museum of Natural […]

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Double whammy dinosaur extinction theory

Widely credited to have wiped out the dinosaurs, the giant asteroid that smashed into the Yucatán Peninsula 65 million years ago may have been preceded by a volcanic extinction event that warmed the planet dramatically and killed nearly all of the life on the ocean floor. University of Washington researchers say they have evidence that […]

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Milky Way’s black hole in asteroid feeding frenzy

The X-ray flares that are observed on a daily basis from the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way may represent the demise of asteroids plunging into the singularity, according to an analysis of data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. A new report appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical […]

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Discovery of asteroid water hints at oceans’ origins

Scientists from the University of Central Florida (UCF) have detected a thin layer of water ice and organic molecules on the surface of the asteroid 24 Themis, a finding that adds weight to the theory that Earth’s oceans resulted from an ancient asteroid impact. The unexpected findings are to be published in Nature. “What we’ve […]

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Hayabusa Touchdown!

Since our last update on JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) plan to collect samples from an asteroid and bring them back to Earth for analysis, the Hayabusa (peregrine falcon) spacecraft has been plagued by a series of setbacks. On Sunday, November 20, ground control lost contact with Hayabusa, and the craft failed in its first […]

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