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Topic: Meteorites

NASA scientists use new Technique to examine meteor, comet materials for components of Life

 

Written by Bill Steigerwald
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – While the origin of life remains mysterious, scientists are finding more and more evidence that material created in space and delivered to Earth by comet and meteor impacts could have given a boost to the start of life.

Some meteorites supply molecules that can be used as building blocks to make certain kinds of larger molecules that are critical for life.

Researchers have analyzed carbon-rich meteorites (carbonaceous chondrites) and found amino acids, which are used to make proteins.

This photo compares the sample size typically used in meteorite studies (yellow oval) to the sample size used with the new equipment (blue circle) in Goddard's Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory. (Michael Callahan)

This photo compares the sample size typically used in meteorite studies (yellow oval) to the sample size used with the new equipment (blue circle) in Goddard’s Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory. (Michael Callahan)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers Asteroid with six tails similar to a Comet

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Astronomers viewing our solar system’s asteroid belt with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have seen for the first time an asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust. Designated P/2013 P5, the asteroid resembles a rotating lawn sprinkler.

“We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it,” said lead investigator David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles. “Even more amazing, its tail structures change dramatically in just 13 days as it belches out dust. That also caught us by surprise. It’s hard to believe we’re looking at an asteroid.”

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope set of images reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt, designated P/2013 P5.

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope set of images reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt, designated P/2013 P5.

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover confirms that some Meteors that land on Earth are from Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Examination of the Martian atmosphere by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover confirms that some meteorites that have dropped to Earth really are from the Red Planet.

A key new measurement of the inert gas argon in Mars’ atmosphere by Curiosity’s laboratory provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origin of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origin of other meteorites.

This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines 66 exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover data reveals remaining atmosphere on Mars is still active

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationVienna, Austria – Mars has lost much of its original atmosphere, but what’s left remains quite active, recent findings from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity indicate. Rover team members reported diverse findings today at the European Geosciences Union 2013 General Assembly, in Vienna.

Evidence has strengthened this month that Mars lost much of its original atmosphere by a process of gas escaping from the top of the atmosphere.

This image shows the first holes into rock drilled by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, with drill tailings around the holes plus piles of powdered rock collected from the deeper hole and later discarded after other portions of the sample had been delivered to analytical instruments inside the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This image shows the first holes into rock drilled by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, with drill tailings around the holes plus piles of powdered rock collected from the deeper hole and later discarded after other portions of the sample had been delivered to analytical instruments inside the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA discovers Moon and large Asteroids have alot in common

 

Written by Karen Jenvey
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – NASA and international researchers have discovered that Earth’s moon has more in common than previously thought with large asteroids roaming our solar system.

Scientists from NASA’s Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), Moffett Field, CA, discovered that the same population of high-speed projectiles that impacted our lunar neighbor four billion years ago, also hit the asteroid Vesta and perhaps other large asteroids.

The left-hand mosaic of the far side of the moon is based on data from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. On the right is an image of the giant asteroid Vesta from data obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The insets show thin sections of the lunar sample 10069-13 and eucrite NWA1978. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC/ASU/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

The left-hand mosaic of the far side of the moon is based on data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. On the right is an image of the giant asteroid Vesta from data obtained by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. The insets show thin sections of the lunar sample 10069-13 and eucrite NWA1978. (Image credit: NASA/GSFC/ASU/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA Scientists strike it rich with Meteorite recovery

 

Written by Karen Jenvey
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – Scientists found treasure when they studied a meteorite that was recovered April 22nd, 2012 at Sutter’s Mill, the gold discovery site that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush. Detection of the falling meteorites by Doppler weather radar allowed for rapid recovery so that scientists could study for the first time a primitive meteorite with little exposure to the elements, providing the most pristine look yet at the surface of primitive asteroids.

An international team of 70 researchers reported in an issue of “Science” that this meteorite was classified as a Carbonaceous-Mighei or CM-type carbonaceous chondrite and that they were able to identify for the first time the source region of these meteorites.

Fragments of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite fall collected by NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens in the evening of Tuesday April 24th, two days after the fall. This was the second recovered find. (Image credit: NASA / Eric James)

Fragments of the Sutter’s Mill meteorite fall collected by NASA Ames and SETI Institute meteor astronomer Dr. Peter Jenniskens in the evening of Tuesday April 24th, two days after the fall. This was the second recovered find. (Image credit: NASA / Eric James)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover analysis reveals clues to Mar’s loss of Atmosphere

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s car-sized rover, Curiosity, has taken significant steps toward understanding how Mars may have lost much of its original atmosphere.

Learning what happened to the Martian atmosphere will help scientists assess whether the planet ever was habitable. The present atmosphere of Mars is 100 times thinner than Earth’s.

A set of instruments aboard the rover has ingested and analyzed samples of the atmosphere collected near the “Rocknest” site in Gale Crater where the rover is stopped for research.

This picture shows a lab demonstration of the measurement chamber inside the Tunable Laser Spectrometer, an instrument that is part of the Sample Analysis at Mars investigation on NASA's Curiosity rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This picture shows a lab demonstration of the measurement chamber inside the Tunable Laser Spectrometer, an instrument that is part of the Sample Analysis at Mars investigation on NASA’s Curiosity rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft reveals Hydrated Minerals on the Giant Asteroid Vesta’s surface

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed that the giant asteroid Vesta has its own version of ring around the collar. Two new papers based on observations from the low-altitude mapping orbit of the Dawn mission show that volatile, or easily evaporated materials, have colored Vesta’s surface in a broad swath around its equator.

Pothole-like features mark some of the asteroid’s surface where the volatiles, likely water, released from hydrated minerals boiled off. While Dawn did not find actual water ice at Vesta, there are signs of hydrated minerals delivered by meteorites and dust evident in the giant asteroid’s chemistry and geology. The findings appear today in the journal Science.

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft Reveals Secrets of Vesta Asteroid

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has provided researchers with the first orbital analysis of the giant asteroid Vesta, yielding new insights into its creation and kinship with terrestrial planets and Earth’s moon.

Vesta now has been revealed as a special fossil of the early solar system with a more varied, diverse surface than originally thought. Scientists have confirmed a variety of ways in which Vesta more closely resembles a small planet or Earth’s moon than another asteroid. Results appear in the journal Science.

The giant asteroid Vesta is shown here as the smallest body among other similar bodies in the solar system: Mars, Mercury, Earth's moon and the dwarf planet Ceres. With Dawn's findings, Vesta is the only intact layered planetary building block with an iron core known to be remaining since the early days of the solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

The giant asteroid Vesta is shown here as the smallest body among other similar bodies in the solar system: Mars, Mercury, Earth's moon and the dwarf planet Ceres. With Dawn's findings, Vesta is the only intact layered planetary building block with an iron core known to be remaining since the early days of the solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA)

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Space Mountain Produces Terrestrial Meteorites

 

Written by Dauna Coulter
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – When NASA’s Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around giant asteroid Vesta in July, scientists fully expected the probe to reveal some surprising sights. But no one expected a 13-mile high mountain, two and a half times higher than Mount Everest, to be one of them.

The existence of this towering peak could solve a longstanding mystery: How did so many pieces of Vesta end up right here on our own planet?

A side view of Vesta's great south polar mountain. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI)

A side view of Vesta's great south polar mountain. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI)

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