Asteroids & NEOs Archives

Dawn Spacecraft Shoots Animation of Ceres

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As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft closes in on Ceres, new images show the dwarf planet at 27 pixels across, about three times better than the calibration images taken in early December. These are the first in a series of images that will be taken for navigation purposes during the approach to Ceres. Over the next several…

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asteroid-lutetia-200

An asteroid, designated 2004 BL86, will safely pass about three times the distance of Earth to the moon on January 26. From its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that the asteroid is about a third of a mile (0.5 kilometers) in size. The flyby of 2004 BL86 will be the closest by any known space rock…

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asteroid-Vesta

Scientists have calculated that the 2014 UR116 asteroid will fly in dangerous proximity to Earth every three years. If it collides with the planet the energy of the explosion could be a thousand times greater than the impact of the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Vladimir Lipunov, a leading scientist on the team which discovered the asteroid this…

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Japan Launches Hayabusa2 Asteroid Mission

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On Dec. 3, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched its Hayabusa2 mission to rendezvous with an asteroid, land a small probe plus three mini rovers on its surface, and then return samples to Earth. NASA and JAXA are cooperating on the science of the mission and NASA will receive a portion of the…

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Incoming-Asteroid-150

European experts have spotted one of the faintest asteroids ever found – a chunk of space rock thought to be about 100 m in diameter beyond the orbit of Mars. Astronomers at the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona, USA, spotted 2014 KC46 on the nights of 28 and 30 October. The difficult observations, close to…

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asteroid-lutetia-200

Grooves found on Lutetia, an asteroid encountered by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, point to the existence of a large impact crater on the unseen side of the rocky world. Rosetta flew past Lutetia at a distance of 3168 km in July 2010, en route to its 2014 rendezvous with its target comet. The spacecraft took images…

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Incoming-Asteroid-150

Asteroid Flyby of Earth On Sunday, Sept. 7th, a house-sized asteroid named “2014 RC” will fly through the Earth-Moon system approximately 25,000 miles (40,000 km) from our planet. At closest approach (over New Zealand), the space rock will be almost inside the orbit of Earth’s geosynchronous satellites. Amateur astronomers, especially those in the southern hemisphere,…

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Asteroid-150

NASA is inviting the worldwide public to submit short messages and images on social media that could be placed in a time capsule aboard a spacecraft launching to an asteroid in 2016. Called the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx), the spacecraft will rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu in 2019, collect a sample and return the…

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets. Scientists had been regularly tracking the star, called NGC 2547-ID8, when it surged with a huge amount of fresh dust…

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Revisiting Lutetia With Rosetta

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This ethereal image shows a stunning sliver of large main-belt asteroid Lutetia from the viewpoint of ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, taken as Rosetta passed by on its 10-year voyage towards comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. This week marks four years since Rosetta flew by this ancient rocky body, on 10 July 2010. As the spacecraft swung past Lutetia it…

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