Archive for the ‘asteroid/comet impacts’ category: Page 3

Mar 19, 2023

European Space Agency’s Hera to inspect DART asteroid impact debris

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

The recent observations prove that not all asteroids are boring objects simply hanging out in space.

Gone are the days when we believed asteroids to be just large rocks hanging out in space. As space exploration has progressed, we have come to note that they are much more complex than that.

A great example of this is the asteroid Didymos, which according to a new study published on Monday, is literally spitting rocks into outer space due to the excessive speeds at which it is spinning.

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Mar 13, 2023

Surviving An Apocalypse

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

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If the end of the world is nigh, it may be too late to avert a catastrophe. So what can we do to mitigate the damage or recover after a cataclysm comes?

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Mar 9, 2023

Newly Discovered Comet Could Outshine The Brightest Stars Next Year

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

A comet that will make a (somewhat) close approach to the Earth in September 2024 is already creating excitement among amateur astronomers. Comets are unpredictable beasts, and a great many have proven disappointing – but C/2023 A3 (Tsuchinshan-ATLAS) has many of the characteristics required to put on the best display for at least a decade.

Comets visit the inner solar system quite frequently, but few can be seen with the naked eye. Most are either regular visitors (short period) that have been slowly losing material on previous approaches to the Sun and don’t have enough left to be very bright. Others never get close enough to Earth to put on a show.

Tsuchinshan-ATLAS passes both those tests. Its orbit is so long it there is debate as to whether it visited the inner solar system 80,000 years ago, or if it never has. At closest approach, it will be 58 million kilometers (36 million miles) or just under 0.39 AU (Earth-Sun distance) from the Earth.

Mar 7, 2023

NASA’s Asteroid Smashing Mission Was a Huge Success for Planetary Defense

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

By understanding how asteroids function, we can know more about how to knock them off course.

The DART mission moved an asteroid, setting the stage for planetary defense strategies that could avoid collision with more dangerous objects.

Mar 7, 2023

New Results From NASA’s DART Mission Confirm We Could Deflect Deadly Asteroids

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

This larger-than-expected result shows the change in Dimorphos’ orbit was not just from the impact of the DART spacecraft. The larger part of the change was due to a recoil effect from all the ejected material flying off into space, which Ariel Graykowski of the SETI Institute and colleagues estimated as between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent of the asteroid’s total mass.

A First Success

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Mar 6, 2023

New results from NASA’s DART planetary defense mission confirm we could deflect deadly asteroids

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

What would we do if we spotted a hazardous asteroid on a collision course with Earth? Could we deflect it safely to prevent the impact?

Last year, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission tried to find out whether a “kinetic impactor” could do the job: smashing a 600kg spacecraft the size of a fridge into an asteroid the size of an Aussie Rules football field.

Early results from this first real-world test of our potential planetary defense systems looked promising. However, it’s only now that the first scientific results are being published: five papers in Nature have recreated the impact, and analyzed how it changed the asteroid’s momentum and orbit, while two studies investigate the debris knocked off by the impact.

Mar 3, 2023

The rise and fall of the riskiest asteroid in a decade

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

For a few tense days this January, a roughly 70-metre asteroid became the riskiest observed in over a decade. Despite the Moon’s attempt to scupper observations, the asteroid is now known to be entirely safe.

*Join ESA, NASA and Asteroid Day LIVE from 19:00 CET this evening in “Killing asteroids — with the experts”, to find out more*.

Initial observations of an asteroid dubbed ‘2022 AE1’ showed a potential Earth impact on 4 July 2023 – not enough time to attempt deflection and large enough to do real damage to a local area should it strike.

Feb 26, 2023

Astrophysicists Chart Source of Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs

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

A new model explains a possible route for the extraterrestrial rock before it blasted Earth.

Feb 21, 2023

Glycine Peptide Chain Formation in the Gas Phase via Unimolecular Reactions

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

Peptide chain formation from amino acids such as glycine is a key step in the emergence of life. Unlike their synthesis by living systems, how peptide chains grow under abiotic conditions is an open question given the variety of organic compounds discovered in various astrophysical environments, comets and meteorites. We propose a new abiotic route in the presence of protonated molecular dimers of glycine in a cold gaseous atmosphere without further need for a solid catalytic substrate. The results provide evidence for the preferential formation of mixed protonated dimers of glycine consisting of a dipeptide and a glycine molecule instead of pure protonated glycine dimers. Additional measurements mimicking a cosmic-ray impact in terms of internal excitation show that a single gas-phase collision induces polymerization via dehydration in both the mixed and pure dimer ions.

Feb 21, 2023

ARES: NASA is examining reports of an atmospheric fireball about 6 p.m. EST, Feb. 15, near McAllen, Texas

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

Based on analysis of preliminary information from several sources, NASA experts believe the object was a meteoroid about two feet in diameter weighing about 1,000 pounds. The angle and speed of entry, along with signatures in weather radar imagery, are consistent with other naturally occurring meteorite falls. Radar and other data indicate that meteorites did reach the ground from this event.

Although meteorites tend to hit Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds, they slow as they travel through the atmosphere, breaking into small fragments before hitting the ground. Meteorites cool rapidly and generally are not a risk to the public.

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