Washington, D.C. – NASA’s preparing to send its fifth in a series of smartphone-controlled small spacecraft into orbit. PhoneSat 2.5 will ride into space as part of the SpaceX-3 commercial cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.
SpaceX-3 is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:41am EDT Sunday, March 16th.
Written by Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has recorded the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid into as many as 10 smaller pieces. Fragile comets, comprised of ice and dust, have been seen falling apart as they approach the sun, but nothing like this has ever before been observed in the asteroid belt.
“This is a rock, and seeing it fall apart before our eyes is pretty amazing,” said David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles, who led the astronomical forensics investigation.
Written Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – As happens about 20 times a year with current detection capabilities, a known asteroid will safely pass Earth Wednesday closer than the distance from Earth to the moon.
This asteroid, 2014 DX110, is estimated to be about 100 feet (30 meters) across. Its closest approach to Earth will be at about 217,000 miles (about 350,000 kilometers) from Earth at about 1:00pm PST (4:00pm EST) on March 5th. The average distance between Earth and its moon is about 239,000 miles (385,000 kilometers).
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – A collage of radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2006 DP14 was generated by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, CA, on the night of February 11th, 2014.
Delay-Doppler radar imaging revealed that the asteroid is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) long, 660 feet (200 meters) wide, and shaped somewhat like a big peanut. The asteroid’s period of rotation is about six hours.
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – Early Wednesday morning (January 1st, 2014), while New Year’s 2014 celebrations were still underway in the United States, the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, AZ, collected a single track of observations with an immediate follow-up on what was possibly a very small asteroid — 7 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters) in size — on a potential impact trajectory with Earth.
Designated 2014 AA, which would make it the first asteroid discovery of 2014, the track of observations on the object allowed only an uncertain orbit to be calculated.
Washington, D.C. – NASA astronauts recently experienced what it will be like to launch into space aboard the new Orion spacecraft during the first ascent simulations since the space shuttles and their simulators were retired.
Ascent simulations are precise rehearsals of the steps a spacecraft’s crew will be responsible for – including things that could go wrong – during their climb into space.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft images reveal stunning details stunning details of the surface of Asteroid Vesta
Written by Jia-Rui Cook
Pasadena, CA – Some beauty is revealed only at a second glance. When viewed with the human eye, the giant asteroid Vesta, which was the object of scrutiny by the Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2012, is quite unspectacular color-wise. Vesta looks grayish, pitted by a variety of large and small craters.
But scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, have re-analyzed the images of this giant asteroid obtained by Dawn’s framing camera.
Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
Pasadena, CA – A new analysis of data from NASA’s Galileo mission has revealed clay-type minerals at the surface of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa that appear to have been delivered by a spectacular collision with an asteroid or comet.
This is the first time such minerals have been detected on Europa’s surface. The types of space rocks that deliver such minerals typically also often carry organic materials.
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Astronomers have long been puzzled by a certain meteor shower.
Every year in mid-December the sky fills with flashes of light shooting out of the constellation Gemini. The Geminids are fast, bright, and reliable. They never fail to show up and many observers count them as the finest meteors of the year.
But where do they come from? That is the puzzle.
Written by Jia-Rui Cook
Pasadena, CA – Just when scientists thought they had a tidy theory for how the giant asteroid Vesta formed, a new paper from NASA’s Dawn mission suggests the history is more complicated.
If Vesta’s formation had followed the script for the formation of rocky planets like our own, heat from the interior would have created distinct, separated layers of rock (generally, a core, mantle and crust). In that story, the mineral olivine should concentrate in the mantle.
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