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Archive for the ‘asteroid/comet impacts’ category

Mar 29, 2020

Planetary defenders validate asteroid deflection code

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

Planetary defense researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) continue to validate their ability to accurately simulate how they might deflect an Earth-bound asteroid in a study that will be published in the April issue of the American Geophysical Union journal Earth and Space Science.

The study, led by LLNL physicist Tané Remington, also identified sensitivities in the code parameters that can help researchers working to design a modeling plan for the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission in 2021, which will be the first-ever kinetic impact deflection demonstration on a near-Earth asteroid.

Asteroids have the potential to impact Earth and cause damage at the local to global scale. Humankind is capable of deflecting or disrupting a potentially hazardous object. However, due to the limited ability to perform experiments directly on asteroids, understanding how multiple variables might affect a kinetic deflection attempt relies upon large-scale hydrodynamic simulations thoroughly vetted against relevant laboratory‐scale experiments.

Mar 18, 2020

‘Wonderchicken’ fossil from the age of dinosaurs reveals origin of modern birds

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

The oldest fossil of a modern bird yet found, dating from the age of dinosaurs, has been identified by an international team of palaeontologists.

The spectacular fossil, affectionately nicknamed the ‘Wonderchicken’, includes a nearly complete , hidden inside nondescript pieces of rock, and dates from less than one million years before the asteroid impact which eliminated all large dinosaurs.

Writing in the journal Nature, the team, led by the University of Cambridge, believe the new fossil helps clarify why survived the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period, while the giant dinosaurs did not.

Mar 1, 2020

SpaceX to Launch NASA’s Psyche Mission to Metal Asteroid

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

NASA has contracted SpaceX to carry out the launch for its upcoming Psyche mission to a strange metal asteroid in our solar system. The launch will use one of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rockets, for a cost of $117 million.

“The Psyche mission will journey to a unique metal-rich asteroid, also named Psyche, which orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter,” NASA explained in a statement. “The asteroid is considered unique, as it appears to largely be made of the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet — one of the building blocks of our solar system.” Astronomers believe that studying this unusual asteroid could help us to understand how planets develop, including planets like Earth.

“Deep within rocky, terrestrial planets, including Earth, scientists infer the presence of metallic cores, but these lie unreachably far below the planet’s rocky mantles and crusts,” NASA said. “Because we cannot see or measure Earth’s core directly, the mission to Psyche offers a unique window into the violent history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets.”

Feb 22, 2020

MIT scientists create doomsday AI that will take over during end times

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

A team of scientists at MIT have developed a computer program that will help humans decide how to best deal with the end of the world, so long as that comes in form of a catastrophic asteroid collision.

Experts say there as many as two or three new asteroids, sometimes called ‘Near Earth Objects,’ discovered every night.

Continue reading “MIT scientists create doomsday AI that will take over during end times” »

Jan 23, 2020

🏺A while before the Sun was born

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

Fyodor R.

Scientists recently identified the oldest material on Earth: stardust that’s 7 billion years old, tucked away in a massive, rocky meteorite that struck our planet half a century ago.

🏺Stardust

Continue reading “🏺A while before the Sun was born” »

Jan 13, 2020

7 Billion-Year-Old Stardust Is Oldest Material Found on Earth

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

Scientists recently identified the oldest material on Earth: stardust that’s 7 billion years old, tucked away in a massive, rocky meteorite that struck our planet half a century ago.

This ancient interstellar dust, made of presolar grains (dust grains that predate our sun), was belched into the universe by dying stars during the final stages of their lives. Some of that dust eventually hitched a ride to Earth on an asteroid that produced the Murchison meteorite, a massive, 220-lb. (100 kilograms) rock that fell on Sept. 28, 1969, near Murchison, Victoria, in Australia.

Dec 19, 2019

Hubble Gets Its Closest Look Yet at Approaching Interstellar Comet

Posted by in category: asteroid/comet impacts

NASA has released photos showcasing the best view of 2I/Borisov we’re ever going to get. The comet is the second interstellar visitor to our solar system since ‘Oumuamua shot through in 2017.

Dec 3, 2019

Pyramid-sized asteroid to zoom past Earth on Friday, as scientists warn one day a space rock may hit

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

Asteroids are coming?


The asteroid, dubbed 2019 WR3, has been directly observed some 74 times by NASA since it was spotted in the skies on November 27, so the space agency could calculate its size, speed and trajectory, and determine the threat level.

NASA now believes the space rock measures between 76 and 170 meters (249 and 557 feet) and is travelling at speeds of 27,036kph (16,799mph).

Continue reading “Pyramid-sized asteroid to zoom past Earth on Friday, as scientists warn one day a space rock may hit” »

Nov 25, 2019

‘City-killer’: Asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid may hit Earth in 2022, says NASA

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

An asteroid estimated to be around the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza may hit the Earth on May 6, 2022, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Despite the one in 3,800 odds — a measly 0.026% chance — of the asteroid smashing into the Earth, the worst-case scenario will surely be of a scene akin to the climax of an apocalypse movie, or even worse, as per NASA via The Daily Express on Nov. 16.

If the “city-killer” asteroid, labeled JF1, is to hit Earth, the impact would be equivalent to the detonation of 230 kilotons of TNT. That is 15 times stronger than the atomic bomb that hit Hiroshima in 1945, which destroyed the whole city with 15 kilotons of force.

Continue reading “‘City-killer’: Asteroid the size of the Great Pyramid may hit Earth in 2022, says NASA” »

Nov 14, 2019

Earth was on the other side of the galaxy when dinosaurs reigned

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

Apart from the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, there aren’t many connections between space and dinosaurs outside of the imagination. But that all changed when NASA research scientist Jessie Christiansen brought the two together in an animation on social media this month.

For the past decade, Christiansen has studied planet occurrence rates, or how often and what kinds of planets occur in the galaxy, while studying data from exoplanet hunters such as NASA’s Kepler, K2 and TESS missions.

During a stargazing party at the California Institute of Technology, Christiansen was explaining how young the stars were that they observed. The skywatchers were looking at the Pleiades, a bright young cluster of stars that are some of the youngest in our sky.

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