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Archive for the ‘asteroid/comet impacts’ category

Apr 27, 2019

NASA Preps Mission to Most Interesting Asteroid in Our Solar System

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

In 2022, if all goes well, NASA will launch Psyche, a space probe intended to visit the asteroid of the same name (16 Psyche is its formal designation). It’s a particularly exciting mission given Psyche’s unique nature and highly unusual composition.

The asteroid belt is composed of three types of asteroid: C-type (carbonaceous, ~75 percent of all asteroids), S-type (silicate-rich, ~17 percent of asteroids) and M-type (metal-rich), which are roughly 10 percent of the total population. The numbers, in this case, don’t add up to 100 percent because we aren’t sure of the exact ratios. 16 Psyche is an M-type asteroid made of iron-nickel. What makes it unusual is that it’s believed to be the now-exposed core of a protoplanet. It’s also estimated to be worth $10,000 quadrillion dollars, if anybody has a towing hitch handy.

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Apr 17, 2019

An Interstellar Rock Like ‘Oumuamua May Have Hit Earth In 2014

Posted by in categories: alien life, asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Unusual Trajectory

The new research hasn’t yet been published, but it’s available on the preprint server ArXiv as of Monday. In it, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb — the same dude who doubled down on the idea that ‘Oumuamua could be an alien spacecraft — suggests that a three-foot-wide interstellar meteor flew over Papa New Guinea’s Manus Island before crashing down.

Because of the meteor’s high speed and particular trajectory past Earth, Loeb and his student Amir Suraj suggest that it couldn’t have been bound in an orbit about the Sun. Rather, they argue, it might have come from somewhere beyond our solar system.

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Apr 17, 2019

Interstellar Meteor Likely Struck Earth In 2014, Say Astronomers

Posted by in category: asteroid/comet impacts

Astronomers claim detection of a first observed interstellar meteor; one that collided with Earth’s atmosphere at very high velocity in 2014, somewhere off the coast of Papua New Guinea.


Apr 3, 2019

New Fossils Might Capture the Moment of Mass Extinction That Wiped Out the Dinosaurs

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Fossils uncovered in North Dakota appear to preserve the catastrophic fallout of the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs–but experts remain cautious.

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Mar 17, 2019

NASA Asteroid WARNING: Giant Asteroid Headed For Earth This Weekend At 29,000MPH

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

The asteroid, dubbed by NASA Asteroid 2019 CB2, is barreling towards a so-called “Earth Close Approach”. NASA’s scientists have pinpointed the asteroid’s passage down to 1.20am GMT (UTC) on Sunday, February 10. The incredible flyby comes just five days after NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) first observed the rock on February 2. As it zips by, Asteroid CB2 will breach speeds of nearly 29,125mph or 13.02km per second.

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Mar 6, 2019

Asteroid Research Points to Planetary Defense Issues

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, computing, existential risks

Not as easy as the movies show. Say it isn’t so.


Incoming asteroids may be harder to break than scientists previously thought, finds a Johns Hopkins study that used a new understanding of rock fracture and a new computer modeling method to simulate asteroid collisions.

The findings, to be published in the March 15 print issue of Icarus, can aid in the creation of asteroid impact and deflection strategies, increase understanding of solar system formation, and help design asteroid mining efforts.

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Feb 18, 2019

Asteroid the size of Big Ben is hurtling towards Earth, NASA warns

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Uh oh…

(Via Mirror Tech)


The space rock, dubbed 2013 MD8 will make a ‘close approach’ to our planet tomorrow afternoon.

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Jan 22, 2019

Asteroid Impacts Increased Around Time of Largest Extinction Event

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

Dinosaurs never stood a chance once asteroid impacts more than doubled some 290 million years ago.

By studying the Moon, an international team of scientists revealed that the number of asteroids crashing into Earth and its satellite increased by two to three times toward the end of the Paleozoic era.

Contrary to popular belief, most of the planet’s more primitive asteroid-produced craters were not erased by erosion and other geologic processes.

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Jan 22, 2019

NASA will attempt to knock an asteroid out of orbit for the first time in 2022

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks

  • If an asteroid were to head towards Earth in the foreseeable future, we would be quite defenceless.
  • To change that, NASA has approved a mission to throw a “small” asteroid off course in October 2022.
  • The aim of the project is to establish whether we can protect our planet from a future asteroid impact.

If an asteroid were to head towards Earth, we would be quite defenceless as we have not successfully developed a method that could reduce the impact of — or entirely avert — a devastating collision.

However, that may be about to change. NASA has approved a project called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the aim of which is to throw a “small” asteroid off course in October 2022.

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Dec 2, 2018

Astronaut says a neglected telescope is NASA’s best chance of defending Earth from ‘city killer’ asteroids — ‘for God’s sake, fund it’

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, government, military

Killer asteroids might be a bigger threat than you think.


  • Small asteroids can strike Earth with the force of many nuclear weapons and destroy entire cities.
  • A small fraction of such asteroids is estimated to have been found, but NASA is supposed to find 90% of them by 2020.
  • Retired astronaut Rusty Schweickart says a relatively inexpensive space telescope, called the Near-Earth Object Camera, could find these space rocks — and quickly.
  • NASA has denied full funding to NEOCam multiple times because the agency’s mission selection process is weighted against the telescope.
  • NEOCam’s supporters say the telescope needs just $40 million more in NASA’s budget to launch into space.
  • It’s up to President Trump and Congress to raise NASA’s budget enough to support the mission.

A former NASA astronaut says the agency he used to work for has a duty to protect civilians from killer asteroids, but that it isn’t meeting that obligation.

The threat of asteroid strikes might seem as abstract as outer space itself. But the risk, while infrequent, is real — and potentially more deadly than the threat posed by some of the most powerful nuclear weapons ever detonated.

Continue reading “Astronaut says a neglected telescope is NASA’s best chance of defending Earth from ‘city killer’ asteroids — ‘for God’s sake, fund it’” »

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