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Posts Tagged ‘asteroids’

How To Target An Asteroid


Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

Like many of his colleagues at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., Shyam Bhaskaran is working a lot with asteroids these days. And also like many of his colleagues, the deep space navigator devotes a great deal of time to crafting, and contemplating, computer-generated 3-D models of these intriguing nomads of the solar system.
But while many of his coworkers are calculating asteroids’ past, present and future locations in the cosmos, zapping them with the world’s most massive radar dishes, or considering how to rendezvous and perhaps even gently nudge an asteroid into lunar orbit, Bhaskaran thinks about how to collide with one.

“If you want to see below the surface of an asteroid, there’s no better way than smacking it hard,” said Bhaskaran. “But it’s not that easy. Hitting an asteroid with a spacecraft traveling at hypervelocity is like shooting an arrow at a target on a speeding race car.

“Most of the hypervelocity impact scenarios that I simulate have spacecraft/asteroid closure rates of around eight miles a second, 30,000 miles per hour [about 48,000 kilometers per hour],” said Bhaskaran.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-138

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Bruce Willis Couldn’t Save Us From Asteroid Doom


According to the internet hysteria surrounding the ancient Mayan calendar, an asteroid could be on its way to wipe out the world on December 21, 2012.

Obviously this is pretty unlikely – but if an asteroid really is on its way, could we take a cue from the disaster movie Armageddon in order to save the planet?

According to science research carried out by University of Leicester physics students, the answer is definitely “no”.

Full Story: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2012/august/bruce-willis-couldn2019t-save-us-from-asteroid-doom

Last Look at Asteroid Planned Before OSIRIS-REx Launch

September 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Every six years, asteroid 1999 RQ36 nears the Earth — by cosmic standards — and researchers are launching a global observation campaign to learn as much as possible in preparation for the OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S.-led mission to bring back a sample of pristine asteroid material.

Astronomers working on the U.S.’ first asteroid-sample return mission – the NASA mission named OSIRIS-REx – have begun a months-long observing campaign that is the last chance to study their target asteroid from Earth before the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launches in 2016.

OSIRIS-REx is a quest to bring back to Earth a good-sized sample of an asteroid unaltered since solar system formation – a sample that very well could contain molecules that seeded life.

Full Story: http://uanews.org/node/41796

Space Agencies Meet To Discuss A Global Exploration Roadmap

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Senior managers representing 10 space agencies from around the world met in Kyoto, Japan today to advance the Global Exploration Roadmap for coordinated space exploration.

During the past year, the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) has developed a long-range human exploration strategy. It begins with the International Space Station and expands human presence throughout the solar system, leading ultimately to human missions to explore the surface of Mars. The roadmap flows from this strategy and identifies two potential pathways: “Asteroid Next” and “Moon Next.”

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2011/aug/HQ_11-280_Global_Roadmaps.html

Japanese Asteroid Mission a Success; Next Up, NASA

August 26, 2011 Leave a comment

A space mission to a nearby asteroid launched in 2005 has yielded some interesting clues about earth’s early formation.

Japanese scientists on that mission report today in the journal Science that despite retrieving a very small sample from the nearby Itokawa asteroid, the knowledge gained is huge.

Full Story: http://today.ucf.edu/japanese-asteroid-mission-a-success-next-up-nasa/