Japan’s Hayabusa Probe Arrives At Asteroid Ryugu — Wow!

The Japanese asteroid sample return mission Hayabusa 2, which launched in December 2014, is pulling up to its target this week, the asteroid Ryugu. The asteroid, about a half-mile (900 meters) across, is shaped like a spinning top with several prominent craters and an equator-girdling ridge. The probe is still closing into Ryugu. In the…
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Ultima Thule Encounter Less Than 7 Months Away

After we welcome in the new year at midnight December 31, we’ll wake up (or stay up) to witness another milestone on the first day of 2019: the farthest planetary encounter in history.  At 12:33 a.m., with many a New Year’s party still in progress, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft will make its closest approach to…
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Vesta, Brightest Asteroid, Shines Extra Bright This Month

If you’ve never seen an asteroid, now’s the time. Asteroid 4 Vesta — the “4” stands for the 4th asteroid discovered — will shine brighter this season than it has for years and for years to come. The 329-mile-wide ball of rock orbit the in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter at an…
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Tiny Asteroid 2018 LA Hits Earth Hours After Discovery

For only the third time, astronomers have discovered an asteroid just hours before it crashed to Earth. That’s exactly what happened on June 2. Richard Kowalski, senior research specialist for the Catalina Sky Survey based in Tucson Arizona, recorded and observed a fast-moving asteroid. From the observations he calculated an orbit predicting the object’s trajectory would…
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Is There An Alien Asteroid Among Us?

Asteroid 2015 BZ509 does two do-si-dos with Jupiter every 12 years as it travels backwards around the sun An asteroid that orbits near Jupiter has been traveling in the wrong direction for at least a million years. All the planets, most asteroids and many comets orbit the same direction around  the sun — counterclockwise when…
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