Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Impact Crater Data Analysis of Ryugu Asteroid Illuminates Complicated Geological History

Size and location of craters on Ryugu (Figure from the Journal paper): The craters are numbered in order of size.

Analysis of the impact craters on Ryugu using the spacecraft Hayabusa 2's remote sensing image data has illuminated the geological history of the Near-Earth asteroid.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

How LISA Pathfinder Detected Dozens of ‘Comet Crumbs’

LISA Pathfinder, a mission led by ESA (the European Space Agency) that included NASA contributions, successfully demonstrated technologies needed to build a future space-based gravitational wave observatory, a tool for detecting ripples in space-time produced by, among other things, merging black holes.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Hubble Observes New Interstellar Visitor

On 12 October 2019, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope observed Comet 2I/Borisov at a distance of approximately 420 million kilometres from Earth. The comet is believed to have arrived here from another planetary system elsewhere in our galaxy.  Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA)

On October 12, 2019, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provided astronomers with their best look yet at an interstellar visitor -- Comet 2I/Borisov -- which is believed to have arrived here from another planetary system elsewhere in our galaxy.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Interstellar Comet with a Familiar Look

Two-color composite image of comet 2I/Borisov captured by the Gemini North telescope on 10 September 2019. The image was obtained with eight 60-second exposures, four in green and four in red bands. Credit: Gemini Observatory/NSF/AURA

For decades, astronomers have speculated that the space between stars may be populated by exosolar minor bodies -- comets and asteroids -- ejected from their home planetary systems. Studies have also suggested that these bodies may occasionally pass through the Solar System and be identified thanks to their strongly open orbits. The discovery of 'Oumuamua two years ago brought the long-awaited confirmation, sparking hopes for subsequent detections.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Gigantic Asteroid Collision Boosted Biodiversity on Earth

An international study led by researchers from Lund University in Sweden has found that a collision in the asteroid belt 470 million years ago created drastic changes to life on Earth. The breakup of a major asteroid filled the entire inner solar system with enormous amounts of dust leading to a unique ice age and, subsequently, to higher levels of biodiversity. The unexpected discovery could be relevant for tackling global warming if we fail to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.