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Topic: Asteroids

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study nearby Dusty Planetary System

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationBaltimore, MD – Researchers will use NASA’s upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to study Beta Pictoris, an intriguing young planetary system that sports at least two planets, a jumble of smaller, rocky bodies, and a dusty disk.

Their goals include gaining a better understanding of the structures and properties of the dust to better interpret what is happening in the system. Since it’s only about 63 light-years away and chock full of dust, it appears bright in infrared light – and that means there is a lot of information for Webb to gather.

A debris disk, which includes comets, asteroids, rocks of various sizes, and plenty of dust, orbits the star Beta Pictoris, which is blocked at the center of this 2012 image by a coronagraph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. This is the visible-light view of the system. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will view Beta Pictoris in infrared light, both using its coronagraphs and capturing data known as spectra to allow researchers to learn significantly more about the gas and dust in the debris disk, which includes lots of smaller bodies like exocomets. (NASA, ESA, and D. Apai and G. Schneider (University of Arizona))

A debris disk, which includes comets, asteroids, rocks of various sizes, and plenty of dust, orbits the star Beta Pictoris, which is blocked at the center of this 2012 image by a coronagraph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. This is the visible-light view of the system. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will view Beta Pictoris in infrared light, both using its coronagraphs and capturing data known as spectra to allow researchers to learn significantly more about the gas and dust in the debris disk, which includes lots of smaller bodies like exocomets. (NASA, ESA, and D. Apai and G. Schneider (University of Arizona))

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NASA’s NEOWISE Spacecraft gets Two Year Extension

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For two more years, NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) will continue its hunt for asteroids and comets – including objects that could pose a hazard to Earth. This mission extension means NASA’s prolific near-Earth object (NEO) hunting space telescope will continue operations until June 2023.

“At NASA, we’re always looking up, surveying the sky daily to find potential hazards and exploring asteroids to help unlock the secrets of the formation of our solar system,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson.

Artist’s concept of NASA’s WISE spacecraft, which was an infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope active from December 2009 to February 2011. In September 2013 the spacecraft was assigned a new mission as NEOWISE to help find near-Earth asteroids and comets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of NASA’s WISE spacecraft, which was an infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope active from December 2009 to February 2011. In September 2013 the spacecraft was assigned a new mission as NEOWISE to help find near-Earth asteroids and comets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA to continue development of Asteroid Hunting Space Telescope

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has approved the Near-Earth Object Surveyor space telescope (NEO Surveyor) to move to the next phase of mission development after a successful mission review, authorizing the mission to move forward into Preliminary Design (known as Key Decision Point-B).

The infrared space telescope is designed to help advance NASA’s planetary defense efforts by expediting our ability to discover and characterize most of the potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that come within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit, collectively known as near-earth objects, or NEOs.

NEO Surveyor is a new mission proposal designed to discover and characterize most of the potentially hazardous asteroids that are near the Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NEO Surveyor is a new mission proposal designed to discover and characterize most of the potentially hazardous asteroids that are near the Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope takes image of Young Comet near Jupiter’s Asteroid

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA reports that for the first time, a wayward comet-like object has been spotted near the family of ancient asteroids.

After traveling several billion miles toward the Sun, a wayward young comet-like object orbiting among the giant planets has found a temporary parking place along the way. The object has settled near a family of captured ancient asteroids, called Trojans, that are orbiting the Sun alongside Jupiter. This is the first time a comet-like object has been spotted near the Trojan population.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image of the young comet P/2019 LD2 as it orbits near Jupiter’s captured ancient asteroids, which are called Trojans. The Hubble view reveals a 400,000-mile-long tail of dust and gas flowing from the wayward comet's bright solid nucleus. (NASA/ESA/J. Olmsted/STScI)

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image of the young comet P/2019 LD2 as it orbits near Jupiter’s captured ancient asteroids, which are called Trojans. The Hubble view reveals a 400,000-mile-long tail of dust and gas flowing from the wayward comet’s bright solid nucleus. (NASA/ESA/J. Olmsted/STScI)

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NASA-supported Tech aboard Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Successful space and suborbital technology developments require ingenuity, understanding of mission and science needs, and testing. For many technologies matured with support from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, the ability to undergo testing multiple times – and often on different types of commercial flight vehicles – adds the necessary rigor and refinement to advance these innovations.

Evolved versions of two NASA-supported technologies that have flown previously through Flight Opportunities will be put to the test on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

Virgin Galactic Makes Space for Second Time in Ten Weeks with Three on Board

Virgin Galactic Makes Space for Second Time in Ten Weeks with Three on Board

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NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility data confirms 2020 SO to Be Upper Centaur Rocket Booster from 1960’s

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Using data collected at NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) and orbit analysis from the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, scientists have confirmed that Near-Earth Object (NEO) 2020 SO is, in fact, a 1960’s-Era Centaur rocket booster.

The object, discovered in September by astronomers searching for near-Earth asteroids from the NASA-funded Pan-STARRS1 survey telescope on Maui, garnered interest in the planetary science community due to its size and unusual orbit and was studied by observatories around the world.

In addition to supporting a variety of NASA planetary missions, NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility on Maunakea on the Big Island of Hawaii is also used to determine the composition of near-Earth objects. (University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy / Michael Connelley)

In addition to supporting a variety of NASA planetary missions, NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility on Maunakea on the Big Island of Hawaii is also used to determine the composition of near-Earth objects. (University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy / Michael Connelley)

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NASA says Small Sized Asteroid will safely fly past Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A small near-Earth asteroid (or NEA) will briefly visit Earth’s neighborhood on Thursday, September 24th, 2020 zooming past at a distance of about 13,000 miles (22,000 kilometers) above our planet’s surface. The asteroid will make its close approach below the ring of geostationary satellites orbiting about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) away from Earth.

Based on its brightness, scientists estimate that 2020 SW is roughly 15 to 30 feet (5 to 10 meters) wide – or about the size of a small school bus.

This illustration shows a near-Earth asteroid like asteroid 2020 SW traveling through space. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows a near-Earth asteroid like asteroid 2020 SW traveling through space. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA reports Comet NEOWISE passes by the Sun, Providing a Treat for Observers

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says a comet visiting from the most distant parts of our solar system is putting on a spectacular nighttime display. Named Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, the comet made its once-in-our-lifetimes close approach to the Sun on July 3rd, 2020, and will cross outside Earth’s orbit on its way back to the outer parts of the solar system by mid-August.

The comet cruised just inside Mercury’s orbit on July 3rd. This very close passage by the Sun is cooking the comet’s outermost layers, causing gas and dust to erupt off the icy surface and creating a large tail of debris. And yet the comet has managed to survive this intense roasting.

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE appears as a string of fuzzy red dots in this composite of several heat-sensitive infrared images taken by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission on March 27, 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE appears as a string of fuzzy red dots in this composite of several heat-sensitive infrared images taken by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission on March 27, 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover sees Earth, Venus from Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover occasionally stops to stargaze. Recently, it captured a shot of Earth and Venus in the Red Planet’s night sky.

Curiosity aimed its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, at the heavens about 75 minutes after sunset on June 5th, 2020, the 2,784th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. A two-image twilight panorama reveals Earth in one frame and Venus in the other.

Both planets appear as mere pinpoints of light, owing to a combination of distance and dust in the air; they would normally look like very bright stars.

Two images of the night sky were combined to show Earth and Venus as seen by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on June 5, 2020, the mission's 2,784th Martian day, or sol. The planets appear as pinpoints of light owing to a combination of distance and dust in the air. Mars' Tower Butte is visible at bottom. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Two images of the night sky were combined to show Earth and Venus as seen by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on June 5, 2020, the mission’s 2,784th Martian day, or sol. The planets appear as pinpoints of light owing to a combination of distance and dust in the air. Mars’ Tower Butte is visible at bottom. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope captures image of California Nebula Stars just before being Decommissioned

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Five days before NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope ended its mission on January 30th, 2020, scientists used the spacecraft’s infrared camera to take multiple images of a region known as the California Nebula – a fitting target considering the mission’s management and science operations were both based in Southern California at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech.

This mosaic is made from those images. It is the final mosaic image taken by Spitzer and one of hundreds the spacecraft captured throughout its lifetime.

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope took this image of the California Nebula on Jan. 25, 2020, five days before the spacecraft was decommissioned. The red and blue bands on either side of the image represent two different wavelengths of light; the gray area shows both wavelengths. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope took this image of the California Nebula on Jan. 25, 2020, five days before the spacecraft was decommissioned. The red and blue bands on either side of the image represent two different wavelengths of light; the gray area shows both wavelengths. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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