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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.