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Archive for the ‘asteroid/comet impacts’ category

Feb 19, 2024

NASA Reveals How It Would Warn World of Impending Asteroid Disaster

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

When the Chicxulub impactor, a six-mile-wide asteroid, struck Earth 66 million years ago, the dinosaurs had no warning.

If an asteroid that size hit Earth today, a shock wave two million times more powerful than a hydrogen bomb would flatten forests and trigger tsunamis. A seismic pulse equal to a magnitude 10 earthquake would crumble cities.

And long after the impact, a cloud of hot dust, ash, and steam would blot out the sun, plunging the Earth into freezing cold.

Feb 8, 2024

Asteroid Impact Near Berlin Reveals Rare Aubrite Treasures

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

Jenniskens’ collaborators at the Museum für Naturkunde officially announced that the first examinations of one of these pieces with an electron beam microprobe prove the typical mineralogy and chemical composition of an achondrite of the aubrite type.

The official classification now aligns with what many suspected from merely looking at the images of the strange meteorites that fell near Berlin on January 21, 2024. They belong to a rare group called “aubrites.”

“They were devilishly difficult to find because, from a distance, they look like other rocks on Earth,” said SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens. “Close up, not so much.”

Feb 8, 2024

Temperature inside Chicxulub crater after dinosaur-killing asteroid hit revealed with ‘paleothermometer’

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

Researchers measured the temperature of the Chicxulub crater 66 million years ago, unlocking mysteries of the dinosaur-dooming mass extinction event.

Jan 28, 2024

A ‘Chicken From Hell’ Could Rewrite the Story of the Dinosaurs’ Final Days

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

A newly identified species upends the theory that the dinosaurs were already dying before the asteroid.

Jan 14, 2024

NASA finally opens capsule to potentially hazardous asteroid ‘Bennu’ that may contain seeds of life

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

Two tight fasteners kept the majority of the Bennu asteroid sample from scientists since it returned to Earth in September. Now they’ve finally prised it open.

Jan 5, 2024

ESA’s 2023 Space Saga: From Jupiter’s Moons to Dark Matter Revelations [Video]

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

2023 was a landmark year in space exploration for the European Space Agency (ESA), marked by significant missions like Juice’s journey to Jupiter, the launch of the Euclid space telescope for dark matter research, and the decommissioning of ESA’s Aeolus mission.

The year also saw advancements in Earth observation technologies, initiatives to address space debris, and collaborative efforts in asteroid impact studies. Notably, the Galileo satellite system’s new high-accuracy service and the first hardware tests for its second generation of satellites were significant milestones.

Dec 20, 2023

New nuclear deflection simulations advance planetary defense against asteroid threats

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

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed a modeling tool for assessing the potential use of a nuclear device to defend the planet against catastrophic asteroid impacts.

The research, published today in the Planetary Science Journal, introduces a novel approach to simulating the from a nuclear device on an asteroid’s surface. This new tool improves our understanding of the nuclear deflection’s radiation interactions on the asteroid’s surface while opening the door to new research on the shockwave dynamics affecting the inner asteroid.

This model will allow researchers to build upon the insights gained from NASA’s recent Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, where, in Sept. 2022, a kinetic impactor was deliberately crashed into an asteroid to alter its trajectory. However, with limitations in the mass that can be lifted to space, scientists continue to explore nuclear deflection as a viable alternative to kinetic impact missions.

Dec 8, 2023

This is the exact spot an asteroid made a crater 750,000 years ago

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

Scientists have pinpointed the location of the place where an asteroid hit Earth approximately 750,000 years ago.

In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the planetary scientists released evidence showing that the location of impact crater they have been seeking for decades is on the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos.

Dec 5, 2023

University of Hawaiʻi Scientists Discover Micrometeorites May Have Delivered Life’s Building Blocks to Earth

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

Micrometeorites, tiny space rocks, may have helped deliver nitrogen, a vital life ingredient, to Earth during our solar system’s early days. This finding was published in Nature Astronomy on November 30 by an international research team, including scientists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Kyoto University. They discovered that nitrogen compounds like ammonium salts are common in material from regions distant from the sun. However, how these compounds reached Earth’s orbit was unclear.

The study suggests that more nitrogen compounds were transported near Earth than previously thought. These compounds could have contributed to life on our planet. The research was based on material collected from the asteroid Ryugu by Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft in 2020. Ryugu, a small sun-orbiting rocky object, is carbon-rich and has experienced considerable space weathering due to micrometeorite impacts and solar charged ions.

The scientists studied the Ryugu samples to understand the materials reaching Earth’s orbit. They used an electron microscope and found the Ryugu samples’ surface covered with tiny iron and nitrogen minerals. They theorized that micrometeorites carrying ammonia compounds collided with Ryugu. This collision sparked chemical reactions on magnetite, resulting in iron nitride formation.

Nov 30, 2023

Volcanoes or Asteroid? AI Ends Debate Over Dinosaur Extinction Event

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

To address the long-standing debate about whether a massive asteroid impact or volcanic activity caused the extinction of dinosaurs and numerous other species 66 million years ago, a team at Dartmouth College took an innovative approach — they removed scientists from the debate and let the computers decide.

The researchers report in the journal Science a new modeling method powered by interconnected processors that can work through reams of geological and climate data without human input. They tasked nearly 130 processors with analyzing the fossil record in reverse to pinpoint the events and conditions that led to the Cretaceous –Paleogene (K–Pg) extinction event that cleared the way for the ascendance of mammals, including the primates that would lead to early humans.

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