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LPSC 2011: Analysis of the grains returned by Hayabusa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/16 12:39 CDT

I'd been despairing of finding a good source for a writeup of the presentations in the Hayabusa session at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, but am happy to report that I've finally found an excellent one.

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LPSC 2011: Day 1: Small bodies

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/03/08 12:28 CST

Here are some of the noteworthy items from the morning's session on "Small Bodies: A Traverse from NEOs to TNOs" and the afternoon's session on "Asteroid Geophysics and Processes: Surfaces and Interiors."

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A dog-bone-shaped asteroid's two moons: Kleopatra, Cleoselene, and Alexhelios

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/23 12:47 CST

Asteroid (216) Kleopatra has been interesting to astronomers for a long time because its brightness is highly variable, but it seems to get more interesting every time somebody looks at it with a new instrument. This week a paper was published in Icarus revealed that it's 30 to 50% empty space.

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Close approach to Earth turns Apollo into Aten

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/08 12:49 CST

Last week we got buzzed by a very small asteroid, something that happens fairly often. But there were several details that made the close approach of asteroid 2011 CQ1 worthy of note.

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How much is Vesta's geology controlled by its one huge impact feature?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/02/07 02:09 CST

Here's a neat paper just published in Geophysical Research Letters: "Mega-ejecta on asteroid Vesta." In it, Martin Jutzi and Erik Asphaug consider Vesta's shape -- which appears to be dominated by a very large impact crater centered at its south pole -- and ask how much of the great big asteroid Vesta's global appearance is likely to be dominated by the effects of that one large impact.

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Dawn Journal: ORT ORT ORT

Posted by Marc Rayman on 2011/02/03 12:10 CST

Dawn continues its flight through the asteroid belt, steadily heading toward its July rendezvous with Vesta, where it will take up residence for a year. On January 10, Dawn performed some of the activities that it will execute in its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO) at Vesta.

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2010 JL33: How to see an asteroid from quite a long way away

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/01/13 11:42 CST

A terrific set of Goldstone radar images of a good-sized near-Earth asteroids named 2010 JL33 was posted to the JPL website yesterday. They also posted a movie version but something about these pixelated radar image series absolutely begs for them to be displayed as an old-school animated GIF, so I made one.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Small Worlds

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/27 03:56 CST

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Small Worlds, about the smaller denizens of the solar system visited in the past year, and due to be visited in the next.

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Door 27 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/27 03:48 CST

Time to open the twenty-seventh door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this flat-floored depression?

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Door 15 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/15 03:51 CST

Time to open the fifteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system is this cratered world?

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Door 13 in the 2010 advent calendar

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/12/13 03:33 CST

Time to open the thirteenth door in the advent calendar. Where in the solar system are these parallel gouges?

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Boulders and Ponds on 433 Eros

Posted by Emily Martin on 2010/12/13 12:10 CST

There is really cool geology being explored on large, oddly shaped asteroids. The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission reached 433 Eros in 2000, and one of the exciting results was the discovery of features called "ponds".

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Asteroids and comets to scale, including Hartley 2

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/18 10:52 CST | 1 comments

Just in time for today's Deep Impact press briefing, which you can watch on NASA TV in a few minutes: I've updated my montage of all the asteroids and comets that have been visited and photographed to include Hartley 2.

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A little more information on the Hayabusa samples from Itokawa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 04:36 CST

Since I posted an update Monday about JAXA confirming extraterrestrial samples in the Hayabusa sample return capsule, JAXA has posted an English-language version of their press release, which contains a bit more information.

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: What's in a Science Meeting?

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/17 10:39 CST

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, What's in a Science Meeting?, about what scientists do at big meetings like the Division of Planetary Sciences.

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JAXA announcement: Itokawa sample return successful!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/15 09:03 CST

It's official: in a press release today, JAXA announced that some 1,500 dust grains scraped from the interior of Hayabusa's clean-looking sample return capsule are not of terrestrial origin so must be from Itokawa.

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Five close-approach images of Hartley 2 by Deep Impact, with commentary

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/11/04 10:58 CDT

Here's the five close-approach images of Hartley 2 captured today, November 4, 2010, by the Deep Impact spacecraft, collected into one file. Boy, do these images reward close examination!

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365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: The Flight of Hayabusa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/12 10:50 CDT

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, The Flight of Hayabusa, a recap of that dramatic mission.

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Early warning for close approaches of two house-sized asteroids

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/09/08 01:31 CDT

Most of you have probably heard by now of two small asteroids, both in the neighborhood of 10 meters in diameter, recently discovered on trajectories that pass unusually close to Earth.

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The Potential to Destroy Civilization? Now on YouTube

Posted by Charlene Anderson on 2010/08/29 11:58 CDT

Visualization can help the brain comprehend what words and numbers can struggle to covey. There's a YouTube video posted by "szyzyg" making the rounds right now that drives that point home.

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