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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: 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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Hayabusa's return: a review

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/06/13 04:47 CDT

Hayabusa's return: round up some of the amazing photos, movies, and artworks that were posted and shared and Tweeted and re-Tweeted over the previous dozen hours or so.

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ESA mission analyst suggests 2010 AL30 might be Venus Express rocket

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/13 10:30 CST

2010 AL30 zipped past us harmlessly about five hours ago. Because of its one-year orbital period, many people speculated it might be a manmade object, but 2010 AL30 might, in fact, be artificial.

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Goldstone detects "STRONG" radar echoes from 2010 AL30

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/12 10:05 CST

Radio scientist Lance Benner posted to the Minor Planets Mailing list this evening the following message: "We have detected STRONG radar echoes from 2010 AL30 at Goldstone."

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2010 AL30: Watch out for low-flying asteroids

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/12 11:52 CST

In less than 24 hours, a newly discovered asteroid known as 2010 AL30 will be zipping past Earth at an altitude of approximately a third the Earth-Moon distance. There's no chance it'll hit us, but it's generating a lot of excitement in the community of amateur and professional near-Earth asteroid observers.

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Results from the Rosetta Encounter with Asteroid 2867 Steins

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/11 01:12 CST

Last week in Science magazine appeared the first peer-reviewed article on the results of Rosetta's September 2008 encounter with the smallish main-belt asteroid Steins. This morning I got a chance to sit down and read the article, and I wrote up a summary.

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Asteroid 2867 Steins

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/11 02:01 CST

This description of asteroid 2867 Steins is based upon an article published in the January 8, 2010 issue of Science by H. Uwe Keller and numerous coauthors and on a related press release.

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Triple asteroid 1994 CC rotation animation

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/08/06 10:39 CDT

From the "just plain cool" department. I love animations of planetary images and I love radar images of asteroids -- so this animation is doubly cool.

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Hooray for Hayabusa!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2009/02/04 07:18 CST

According to JAXA (the Japanese space agency), poor little Hayabusa has successfully restarted its ion engine and has resumed powered flight today. Hooray! This is good news for Hayabusa's eventual return to Earth.

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LPSC: Friday: Hayabusa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2006/03/20 04:54 CST

The audience was rapt as Project Manager Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi stood up to give an introduction to the Hayabusa spacecraft and described the saga of the mission to date.

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Big News for Hayabusa: It wasn't hovering, it landed!!

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/11/23 07:21 CST

Remember how Hayabusa was virtually still for 30 minutes? JAXA is now saying that Hayabusa actually touched down -- and more than that, they may even have a sample.

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Closer still to Itokawa

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/11/19 08:46 CST

Hayabusa reached an altitude of about 560 meters above Hayabusa at 17:30 UTC. And at 18:00 UTC they are at 500 meters. This is still farther above the asteroid than the asteroid is big...there is still a long way to go before Hayabusa touches down...

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Getting ready for Hayabusa's touchdown

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/11/18 01:40 CST

In a further update on Hayabusa's status, we have been contacted by Kazuya Yoshida of the Space Robotics Laboratory at Tohuku University. Yoshida reports that the touchdown is now planned to take place "in early morning of November 20 (Sunday) JST", which would make it late Saturday evening UTC, or Saturday midday here in California.

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Another Hayabusa update: small delay

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/11/17 08:05 CST

There has been a delay of just about a day in JAXA's plans for landing Hayabusa on Itokawa.

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Amazing Hayabusa images

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2005/11/10 09:36 CST

These photos pretty much speak for themselves. They are amazing. Hayabusa saw its own shadow on Itokawa, and took a photo of the released target marker.

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