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Chang'E 2 has departed Earth's neighborhood for...asteroid Toutatis!?

Emily Lakdawalla • June 14, 2012

According to a Chinese spaceflight forum, Chang'E program chief scientist Ouyang Ziyuan recently announced that Chang'E 2 has departed the Sun-Earth L2 point and is now en route to asteroid 4179 Toutatis!

More Evidence for Impact Origin for Colombia’s Vichada Structure

Bruce Betts • May 08, 2012

Evidence continues to pile up that the Rio Vichada structure in Colombia is indeed the largest impact structure in South America.

La Sagra Observatory discovers very near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14

Jaime Nomen • March 27, 2012

With a new CCD camera configured to shoot rapid, short exposures bought with a Planetary Society Shoemaker NEO Grant we caught near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14.

New "Snapshot From Space": Defending Our Planet

Mat Kaplan • March 06, 2012

A new installment of our "Snapshots" video series examines the threat posed by asteroids on collision courses with our home planet. Emily Lakdawalla explains why it's so important to find, understand and learn to deflect these potential civilization enders.

Our friendly neighborhood asteroid, 2005 YU55 (an animation)

Emily Lakdawalla • November 16, 2011

Last week JPL released two animations of asteroid 2005 YU55 made from the radar data acquired by Goldstone's 70-meter radio dish.

Goldstone: Desert outpost performs radio imaging of close-passing asteroid 2005 YU55

Emily Lakdawalla • November 09, 2011

Anticipating the close flyby of asteroid 2005 YU55 yesterday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory invited media to tour Goldstone, one of three facilities that make up NASA's Deep Space Network. I've always wanted to see these massive radio dishes up close, so I jumped at the chance!

Live feeds on asteroid 2005 YU55 as it passes Earth

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2011

Unless you've been living under a rock you've probably heard that there is a relatively large (400-meter) asteroid passing closer to Earth than the orbit of the Moon today -- in just a few minutes, as a matter of fact.

How radio telescopes get "images" of asteroids

Emily Lakdawalla • November 08, 2011

This is a repost of an article I wrote in April 2010; I thought it'd be useful reading for those of you interested in today's near-Earth flyby of asteroid 2005 YU55.

Students Design Human Asteroid Mission in Caltech Space Challenge

Louis D. Friedman • September 19, 2011

I spent much of the past week attending the Caltech Space Challenge, a student-organized international competition to design a human mission to a Near-Earth asteroid. It was a great week, and one of the most positive, upbeat and hopeful programs I have participated in concerning the future of space exploration.

Meeting today: The infelicitously named "SBAG"

Emily Lakdawalla • August 25, 2011

NASA funds regular meetings of scientists who work on different parts of the solar system to provide scientific input into NASA's future plans. These "analysis groups" are known by their acronyms, all of which sound kind of horrible, but none has quite as terrible-sounding an acronym as "SBAG," usually pronouced "ess-bag," the Small Bodies Assessment Group.

Shoemaker NEO Grant Update: Asteroid discoveries from La Sagra

Jaime Nomen • August 22, 2011

In spite of some bad weather conditions during the first part of this year, the new camera bought with funds from a Planetary Society Shoemaker Near Earth Object grant helped us to discover and confirm ten new near-Earth objects.

Day 2: Planetary Defense conference in Bucharest, Romania

Bruce Betts • May 10, 2011

One nice thing about the Planetary Defense conference is that I not only get to talk with the NEO community of experts all in one place and hear their new science, but I also get updates on projects the Planetary Society has funded.

LPSC 2011: Day 1: Small bodies

Emily Lakdawalla • March 08, 2011

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."

Close approach to Earth turns Apollo into Aten

Emily Lakdawalla • February 08, 2011

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.

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

Emily Lakdawalla • January 13, 2011

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.

Early warning for close approaches of two house-sized asteroids

Emily Lakdawalla • September 08, 2010

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.

The Potential to Destroy Civilization? Now on YouTube

Charlene Anderson • August 29, 2010

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.

Report from the Exploration of Near-Earth Objects Objectives Workshop - Day 2

Bruce Betts • August 11, 2010

It's day 2 at NASA's Exploration of Near Earth Objects (NEO) Objectives workshop (ExploreNOW).

Report from the Exploration of Near-Earth Objects Objectives Workshop

Bruce Betts • August 10, 2010

This week, Jennifer Vaughn and I are representing the Planetary Society at NASA's Exploration of Near-Earth Objects (NEO) Objectives Workshop, or ExploreNOW.

How radio telescopes get "images" of asteroids

Emily Lakdawalla • April 29, 2010

Every time I post a radio telescope image of a near-Earth asteroid, I get at least one reader question asking me to explain how radio telescopes take photos, so I'm hereby writing a post explaining the basics of how delay-Doppler imaging works.

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