Tagged With asteroids
Most asteroids orbit the Sun in a counterclockwise fashion, but a newly-discovered object nicknamed Bee-Zed goes against the grain, spinning around the Solar System the opposite way. Not only that, it frequently ventures within Jupiter's orbital space — putting it on a potential collision course with the gas giant and its 6000 co-orbiting asteroids.
Humans are rightly terrified by the threat of nuclear war, but there's also a non-zero chance that a giant rock will come hurling through our atmosphere to ruin every Earthling's day. When that happened 66 million years ago, it triggered a mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. But we have something the dinosaurs didn't: Scientists, who are working hard to account for all of the dangerous asteroids in our solar neighbourhood, and to develop technologies that can move them off a deadly collision course.
Right now, OSIRIS-REx is one of the busiest spacecrafts in the solar system. OSIRIS-REx, which blasted off in September 2016, has been getting ready to rendezvous with the object of its mission — an asteroid called Bennu — in order to bring back samples to Earth. But before the spacecraft links up with Bennu in 2018, it's been assigned a side project.
Concern over an apocalyptic asteroid strike has risen all the way to the top: The White House released a document this week detailing a strategy for National Near Earth Object (NEO) preparedness. Morgan Freeman would no doubt be proud.
In addition to its 67 moons, Jupiter is accompanied by two giant clusters of asteroids that orbit the Sun along the same path, and is packed with as many large objects as the Asteroid Belt. Yesterday, NASA announced a new mission to investigate these "trojan" asteroids. Here's what you need to know about this exciting new project.
Unfortunately, the CBS show — from executive producer Alex Kurtzman, whose TV credits include Fringe, Limitless, Sleepy Hollow, and Alias; he also directed the Tom Cruise Mummy reboot that's out next year — is titled Salvation, suggesting it might not end with the asteroid smashing Earth into a billion pieces, as we all might currently be hoping
If an asteroid were closing in on our planet, we'd know about it quickly thanks to a dedicated network of astronomers. But this week, the Near Earth Object Coordination Center (NEOCC) had its eyes fixed on something else: two Mars-bound spacecraft attempting to escape Earth's gravity well. And they did a bang-up job capturing the event in real-time.
Sixty-six million years ago, planet Earth had a bad day when a 10km-wide asteroid smashed into the Yucatán Peninsula, triggering a series of events that killed off the dinosaurs. Later this month, a scientific expedition will drill into the heart of Chicxulub crater for the very first time, seeking to learn more about the nature of that disaster.