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Topic: Near Earth Orbit

NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program puts Asteroid 2013 TV135 in prospective

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Newly discovered asteroid 2013 TV135 made a close approach to Earth on September 16th, when it came within about 4.2 million miles (6.7 million kilometers).

The asteroid is initially estimated to be about 1,300 feet (400 meters) in size and its orbit carries it as far out as about three quarters of the distance to Jupiter’s orbit and as close to the sun as Earth’s orbit.

This diagram shows the orbit of asteroid 2013 TV135 (in blue), which has just a one-in-63,000 chance of impacting Earth. Its risk to Earth will likely be further downgraded as scientists continue their investigations. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This diagram shows the orbit of asteroid 2013 TV135 (in blue), which has just a one-in-63,000 chance of impacting Earth. Its risk to Earth will likely be further downgraded as scientists continue their investigations. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna takes Radar Images of Near-Earth Asteroid 2005 WK4

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A collage of radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2005 WK4 was generated by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, CA, on August 8th, 2013.

The asteroid is between 660 and 980 feet (200 and 300 meters) in diameter; it has a rounded and slightly asymmetric shape. As it rotates, a number of features are evident that suggest the presence of some flat regions and a bulge near the equator.

Radar images of asteroid 2005 WK4 were obtained on Aug. 8, 2013. The asteroid is between 660 - 980 feet (200 - 300 meters) in diameter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR)

Radar images of asteroid 2005 WK4 were obtained on Aug. 8, 2013. The asteroid is between 660 – 980 feet (200 – 300 meters) in diameter. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR)

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NASA is looking for ways to Target an Asteroid

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Like many of his colleagues at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, Shyam Bhaskaran is working a lot with asteroids these days. And also like many of his colleagues, the deep space navigator devotes a great deal of time to crafting, and contemplating, computer-generated 3-D models of these intriguing nomads of the solar system.

But while many of his coworkers are calculating asteroids’ past, present and future locations in the cosmos, zapping them with the world’s most massive radar dishes, or considering how to rendezvous and perhaps even gently nudge an asteroid into lunar orbit, Bhaskaran thinks about how to collide with one.

This spectacular image of comet Tempel 1 was taken 67 seconds after it obliterated Deep Impact's impactor spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD)

This spectacular image of comet Tempel 1 was taken 67 seconds after it obliterated Deep Impact’s impactor spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD)

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NASA Survey Counts Potentially Hazardous Asteroids Near Earth

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Observations from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have led to the best assessment yet of our solar system’s population of potentially hazardous asteroids. The results reveal new information about their total numbers, origins and the possible dangers they may pose.

Potentially hazardous asteroids, or PHAs, are a subset of the larger group of near-Earth asteroids. The PHAs have the closest orbits to Earth’s, coming within five million miles (about eight million kilometers), and they are big enough to survive passing through Earth’s atmosphere and cause damage on a regional, or greater, scale.

New results from NASA's NEOWISE survey find that more potentially hazardous asteroids, or PHAs, are closely aligned with the plane of our solar system than previous models suggested. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

New results from NASA's NEOWISE survey find that more potentially hazardous asteroids, or PHAs, are closely aligned with the plane of our solar system than previous models suggested. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Plans to Visit a Near-Earth Asteroid

 

NASAWashington, DC –  In a few years a NASA spacecraft will seek the building blocks of life in a shovelful of asteroid dirt. The OSIRIS-REx1 spacecraft, targeted for launch in September 2016, will intercept asteroid 1999 RQ36, orbit it for a year, and then reach out a robotic arm to touch its surface.

“We call it ‘touch and go,'” explains principal investigator Michael Drake of the University of Arizona. “OSIRIS-REx will approach the surface at 0.1 m/sec (only 0.2 mph, less than a tenth of walking pace) and, without landing, stretch out its arm equipped with a sample collector. We’ll simply agitate the asteroid’s surface with ultra-pure nitrogen to stir up material for capture.”

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