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Archive for the ‘asteroid/comet impacts’ category: Page 4

Jun 28, 2022

How to See the Giant Comet Heading Our Way Soon

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

One of the largest comets known is approaching our planet on the only trip through the inner solar system it will make during our lifetimes.

Five years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope spotted a large comet at the farthest distance ever, as it was approaching the sun from way out between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. Now, that giant space snowball is coming in for its closest pass by Earth in just a few weeks.

Comet C/2017 K2 will be at its nearest point to us on its current swing through the inner solar system on July 14. Even at its closest, however, it will still be farther away from us than the average distance between Earth and Mars. This will likely make it difficult to see the comet without at least a small telescope, despite its substantial stature.

Jun 18, 2022

NASA publishes the results of its intense killer asteroid dress rehearsal

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

Monitoring PHAs is a huge responsibility that requires a worldwide effort, including tracking, alerts, and disaster preparedness. Last year, over 100 participants from 18 countries (including NASA scientists and the NEOWISE mission) conducted an international exercise that simulated an encounter with an asteroid that made a close flyby to Earth. As NASA revealed in a recently-released study, the exercise was a complete success. The lessons learned could help avert real impacts in the near future or significantly limit the devastation one could cause.

The study, which appeared in the May 31 issue of The Planetary Science Journal (titled “Apophis Planetary Defense Campaign”), was conducted by the Planetary Defense Exercise Working Group and led by Vishnu Reddy — an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPI). The working group is made up of more than 100 participants from 18 countries and includes facilities like NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), the ESA NEO Coordination Centre, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI), and many universities and research institutes worldwide.

As Reddy and his colleagues describe in the paper, the planetary defense exercise was the culmination of work that began in 2017, which was designed to test the operational readiness of our global planetary defense capabilities. The exercise was carried out with the support of NASA’s PDCO, the Minor Planet Center (MPC) — the internationally-recognized authority for monitoring the position and motion of small celestial bodies — and the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN). The exercise was named the Apophis Campaign since it coincided with the close approach of the NEO (99942) Apophis, which flew past Earth from December 2020 to March 2021.

Jun 9, 2022

Tiny meteoroid bops $10 billion Webb space telescope

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

WASHINGTON, June 8 (Reuters) — A tiny meteoroid struck the newly deployed James Webb Space Telescope in May, knocking one of its gold-plated mirrors out of alignment but not changing the orbiting observatory’s schedule to become fully operational shortly, NASA said on Wednesday.

The little space rock hit the $10 billion telescope sometime in late May and left a small but noticeable effect in the telescope’s data, NASA said in a statement, adding that it was the fifth and largest hit to the telescope since its December launch. read more

“After initial assessments, the team found the telescope is still performing at a level that exceeds all mission requirements,” NASA said. “Thorough analysis and measurements are ongoing.”

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Jun 1, 2022

Killer Asteroids Are Lurking Around Us — A New Cloud-Based Tool Can Help Spot Them

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

Discovering and tracking asteroids is critical for planetary defense against killer asteroid impacts. The detailed astronomical data associated with it is also useful for providing new insights for astronomers. Helping with this task is a new algorithm called THOR, which has now proven to be capable of finding asteroids. It has been running on the Asteroid Institute’s cloud-based astrodynamics platform for identifying and tracking asteroids.

May 28, 2022

Humans Are More Likely To Attack An Extraterrestrial Civilization Than The Other Way Around Says Scientist

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

Should we send messages into space in an effort to contact intelligent extra-terrestrial civilizations? Or should be fear them attacking us and transmit nothing? Two conflicting and oft-heard questions, but it turns out we may overlooking something rather important and completely obvious— it’s probably us that are the malicious aliens.

When I read that we’ve got more chance of being struck by a planet-killer asteroid than being invaded by aliens, I was intrigued.

So I got in touch with Alberto Caballero, the author of the though experiment-style paper published this week, to find out more. His paper is an attempt to determine how many malicious extraterrestrial civilizations there could be, and how likely it is that they would invade us.

Continue reading “Humans Are More Likely To Attack An Extraterrestrial Civilization Than The Other Way Around Says Scientist” »

May 23, 2022

Asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building barreling toward Earth on May 27

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

The asteroid will zoom safely past Earth at 47,200 miles per hour.


The near-Earth asteroid 7,335 (1989 JA) will make a close approach to our planet on May 27, 2022, flying within about 2.5 million miles of Earth.

May 4, 2022

Asteroid Impact: NASA Estimates Space Rock the Size of the Great Pyramid May Hit Earth on May 6

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

Apr 25, 2022

When did the dinosaurs go extinct?

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

The end, when it came, came suddenly. An asteroid or comet 10 kilometres across slammed into the Gulf of Mexico, gouging a 180-kilometre crater and unleashing firestorms, eruptions and mega-tsunamis across the globe. The debris blocked out the Sun for years. The dinosaurs – and the other 75 per cent of life that went down with them – didn’t stand a chance.

The story of the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago is well known. But that of their origin is less so. Dinosaurs were the dominant animals on land for at least 135 million years, the longest reign of any group. Had the impact not happened, they might still be in control. Where did these magnificent beasts come from?

Apr 11, 2022

Amazing fossils from the day of the Dinosaur-ending asteroid strike may have been found

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

A completely intact dino-drumstick complete with skin and more. Just need 11 ancient herbs and spices.


The Tanis fossil site located in North Dakota in the United States of America is currently one of the most interesting places on Earth. Well that’s if you like dinosaurs and uncovering the ancient mysteries of our planet. Maybe you’re more into ancient computers that predict eclipses (opens in new tab). If not, uh, why not check out some of our hot Elden Ring content (opens in new tab)? We’ve got guides on the best builds (opens in new tab), how to survive (opens in new tab), and all sorts of stuff.

Ok, now that we’ve gotten rid of those people, back to the dinosaurs.

Continue reading “Amazing fossils from the day of the Dinosaur-ending asteroid strike may have been found” »

Apr 1, 2022

NASA downgrades a large asteroid’s risk of impact in 2880

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

Earthlings 800 years from now can breathe a little easier.


A fresh assessment of a distantly risky asteroid brings good news: it’s even less of a threat than astronomers had feared.

The chances of an asteroid dubbed 1950 DA crashing into Earth were always tiny and long in the future: As of 2015, scientists had calculated that the object had a 1 in 8,000 chance of impacting Earth in the year 2880. But a new analysis released on Tuesday (March 29) knocks the asteroid out of the top spot of NASA’s list of known asteroids that are most potentially hazardous to Earth.

Continue reading “NASA downgrades a large asteroid’s risk of impact in 2880” »

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