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Archive for the ‘asteroid/comet impacts’ category: Page 2

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.

Nov 27, 2023

What caused dinosaurs’ demise? Study says it wasn’t only asteroids

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

Another event — volcanic eruptions — might have played a major role in wiping out the dinosaurs.


Ugurhan/iStock.

Two main events that could be responsible for all the chaos happened at the same time: massive volcanic activity called the Deccan Traps in India and Seychelles and a huge meteorite hitting Earth, creating the Chicxulub crater in Mexico.

Continue reading “What caused dinosaurs’ demise? Study says it wasn’t only asteroids” »

Nov 26, 2023

The Fermi Paradox Compendium of Solutions & Terms

Posted by in categories: asteroid/comet impacts, existential risks, information science, media & arts, neuroscience, singularity, sustainability, time travel, virtual reality

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In the grand theater of the cosmos, amidst a myriad of distant suns and ancient galaxies, the Fermi Paradox presents a haunting silence, where a cacophony of alien conversations should exist. Where is Everyone? Or are we alone?

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Nov 10, 2023

Giant Planets Cast a Deadly Pall

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

How they can prevent life in other planetary systems. Giant gas planets can be agents of chaos, ensuring nothing lives on their Earth-like neighbors around other stars. New studies show, in some planetary systems, the giants tend to kick smaller planets out of orbit and wreak havoc on their climates.

Jupiter, by far the biggest planet in our solar system, plays an important protective role. Its enormous gravitational field deflects comets and asteroids that might otherwise hit Earth, helping create a stable environment for life. However, giant planets elsewhere in the universe do not necessarily protect life on their smaller, rocky planet neighbors.

A new Astronomical Journal paper details how the pull of massive planets in a nearby star system are likely to toss their Earth-like neighbors out of the “habitable zone.” This zone is defined as the range of distances from a star that are warm enough for liquid water to exist on a planet’s surface, making life possible.

Oct 27, 2023

Devastation followed by desperation in Acapulco after Hurricane Otis rips through

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

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — First came the devastation, then people’s desperation.

Hurricane Otis blasted the Mexican tourist port of Acapulco like no other storm before in the Eastern Pacific. As a monstrous Category 5 meteor, with its 165 mph (266 kph) winds, it destroyed what it found in its path: large residential buildings, houses, hotels, roads and stores.

Fallen trees and power line poles covered practically all the streets in this city of more than 1 million people. The walls and the roofs of buildings and houses were left partially or totally ripped off, while some cars were buried under debris.

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