Latest Asteroid Stories

Asteroid Hunter Reactivated, Returns First Images
2013-12-20 05:09:27

April Flowers for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online NASA's Near-Earth Orbit Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer spacecraft, or NEOWISE for short, made the most comprehensive survey to date of asteroids and comets during its first tour of service. Now, NEOWISE has returned to service, and has sent its first set of test images back to Earth in preparation for a renewed mission. More than 34,000 asteroids were discovered, and 158,000 were characterized throughout the solar system during...

Vesta's Hidden Attractions Provided By Dawn
2013-12-17 08:01:02

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Some beauty is revealed only at a second glance. When viewed with the human eye, the giant asteroid Vesta, which was the object of scrutiny by the Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2012, is quite unspectacular color-wise. Vesta looks grayish, pitted by a variety of large and small craters. But scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, have re-analyzed the images of this giant asteroid obtained by Dawn's...

Clay Minerals Found On Europa
2013-12-11 15:38:16

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Jupiter’s icy moon Europa appears to have clay-type minerals on its surface, according to new data from NASA’s Galileo mission. Scientists at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco say they have identified clay-like minerals on Europa for the first time. This finding could also imply that Europa carries organic materials. "Organic materials, which are important building blocks for life, are often found in comets...

Bennu Asteroid Mission Countdown Begins
2013-12-10 15:52:08

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online On Tuesday, NASA announced that it had started the countdown for OSIRIS-REx, the space agency’s mission to collect a physical sample from a distant asteroid. “This is a pioneering effort, both technologically and scientifically,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-Rex principal investigator from the University of Arizona. “Starting the countdown clock carries a lot of symbolism for us. After December 9, we will have a constant...

Dawn Mission Details
2013-12-04 10:18:43

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online NASA officials have just announced the schedule for the spacecraft Dawn’s approach and activities at the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. The NASA probe is slated to arrive at Ceres in late March or the beginning of April 2015 – 30 months after investigating a similar proto-planet called Vesta. "Our flight plan around Ceres will be choreographed to be very similar to the...

Asteroid Detection Crowdsourcing Initiative
2013-11-22 06:37:46

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online A new agreement between NASA and a Washington-based asteroid mining firm will give computer programmers a chance to use the US space agency’s data to help locate near-Earth objects. The crowd-sourced software solutions initiative is the first signed under NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge, a large scale effort to take advantage of multidisciplinary partnerships with government agencies, private sector firms, universities and...

mars asteroids nasa
2013-11-19 04:23:31

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Mars may be helping to shape the surface of some near-Earth asteroids, according to a new study published in the journal Icarus. Richard Binzel, a professor of planetary sciences at MIT, found in 2010 that asteroids that venture outside of the main belt in our solar system could be experiencing “asteroid quakes” as they come too close to Earth’s gravity. These quakes shift surface grains, exposing fresh grains underneath, which helps...

Six-Tailed Asteroid Caught By NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
2013-11-07 15:50:06

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online Astronomers using the NASA Hubble Space Telescope have witnessed an asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust. NASA said the asteroid, designated P/2013 P5, resembles a rotating lawn sprinkler with the dust radiating from it like water being whipped around a yard. P/2013 P5, located in our Solar System’s asteroid belt, is puzzling astronomers with its unusual appearance. "We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it," said lead...

Dawn Mission Data Offers New Evidence On Vesta Asteroid's History
2013-11-07 15:32:00

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online A new paper published in the journal Nature rewrites the history of the giant asteroid Vesta, which was recently visited by NASA’s Dawn mission. It was during the Dawn mission that the spacecraft used its visible and infrared mapping spectrometer instrument to map out the surface of the asteroid, leading scientists to the belief that Vesta’s formation followed the script that rocky planets followed, where the mineral olivine should...

Latest Asteroid Reference Libraries

2009-04-28 17:17:08

Johann Daniel Titius was born on January 2, 1729 in Konitz, Royal Prussia. He was a professor at Wittenberg. He is most famous for the Titius-Bode law, which helped him find the existence of a minor planet at 2.8 AU from the sun in 1766. The planet was later named Ceres. Titius died in Wittenberg on December 11, 1796. To his honor, the Titius asteroid in 1998 and the Titius lunar crater are named after him.

2004-10-19 04:45:44

Lagrangian Point -- In Lagrangian mechanics, a Lagrangian point (or L-point) is one of five positions in space where the gravitational fields of two bodies of substantial but differing mass combine to form a point at which a third body of negligible mass would be stationary relative to the two bodies. Bodies at the L-point will not move relative to the parent bodies if they are not perturbed by other gravitational forces. They are sometimes also referred to as libration points. The...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Planet -- A planet is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that doesn't produce energy through nuclear fusion. Until recently, only nine were known (all of them in our own Solar system). As of the end of 2002 over 100 are known, with all of the new discoveries being extrasolar planets. Astronomers often call asteroids minor planets, and call the larger planetary bodies (those which are commonly called planets) major planets. Planets within the solar system can be...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Asteroid -- An asteroid, also called a minor planet or planetoid, is a member of a group of small, planet-like bodies that are part of our solar system. They are believed to be remnants of the interstellar clouds, nebula, that were not incorporated into planets during the formation of the solar system. The largest asteroid in the inner solar system is Ceres with a diameter of 1003 km. It also was the first to be discovered, by Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. Nowadays, over 9000...

Solar System
2012-10-22 06:09:41

The Solar System refers to the area in space that is dominated by our own Sun. It is comprised of the Sun and its associated astronomical objects that are held in its gravitational orbit. The Solar System was formed as a result of the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The mass of this system is located almost entirely in the Sun. Apart from the Sun, a high percentage of the remainder of the system’s mass is located in the eight solitary planets that...

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