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New "Snapshot From Space": Defending Our Planet

Posted by Mat Kaplan on 2012/03/06 10:18 CST

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.

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Our friendly neighborhood asteroid, 2005 YU55 (an animation)

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/16 02:58 CST

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

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

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/09 06:52 CST

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!

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Live feeds on asteroid 2005 YU55 as it passes Earth

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 03:45 CST

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.

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How radio telescopes get "images" of asteroids

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/11/08 10:52 CST

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.

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Students Design Human Asteroid Mission in Caltech Space Challenge

Posted by Louis D. Friedman on 2011/09/19 11:55 CDT

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.

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Meeting today: The infelicitously named "SBAG"

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2011/08/25 01:45 CDT

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.

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Shoemaker NEO Grant Update: Asteroid discoveries from La Sagra

Posted by Jaime Nomen on 2011/08/22 04:41 CDT

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.

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Day 2: Planetary Defense conference in Bucharest, Romania

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2011/05/10 05:59 CDT

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.

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

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2010/08/11 04:45 CDT

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

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Report from the Exploration of Near-Earth Objects Objectives Workshop

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2010/08/10 03:14 CDT

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

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Planetary Society Researcher Max Rocca Discovers Largest Impact Crater in South America

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2010/02/13 12:00 CST

It was January of 2004 when the elegant curve of the Vichada first caught the attention of geologist Max Rocca of Buenos Aires. Could the course of the river have been shaped by the circular outlines of an impact crater? Rocca decided to find out.

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WISE bags its first near-Earth object, 2010 AB78

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2010/01/22 04:14 CST

The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) just took its lens cap off on December 29, and posted its "first light" image on January 6. Now, just two weeks later, WISE has bagged its first near-Earth object.

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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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