July 16, 2009 24/7 News Coverage our time will build eternity
Primitive Main Belt Asteroids May Have Formed Far From Sun
Boulder CO (SPX) Jul 16, 2009
Many of the objects found today in the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter may have formed in the outermost reaches of the solar system, according to an international team of astronomers led by scientists from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). The team used numerical simulations to show that some comet-like objects residing in a disk outside the original orbit o ... read more

Cosmic surprise: Many asteroids are comets
Paris (AFP) July 15, 2009
Many of the primitive bodies wandering the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter are former comets, tossed out of orbit by a brutal ballet between the giant outer planets, say a team of astrophysicists. A commonly accepted theory is that the asteroid belt is the rubble left over from a "proto-planetary disk," the dense ring of gas that surrounds a new-born star. But the orbiting rocks h ... more
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  • Dawn Switches Back To Ion Propulsion System
    Pasadena CA (SPX) Jun 30, 2009
    Having completed the longest planned coasting period of its entire mission, Dawn is now back to its familiar routine. On June 8, the ion propulsion system was called back into action to propel the probe to its rendezvous with asteroid Vesta. The spacecraft began its 7-month coast period on October 31, 2008. Since then, it had used its ion thrusters for a measurement of the solar array ... more

    Space Shuttle Links 1908 Tunguska Explosion To Comet
    Ithaca NY (SPX) Jun 25, 2009
    The mysterious 1908 Tunguska explosion that leveled 830 square miles of Siberian forest was almost certainly caused by a comet entering the Earth's atmosphere, says new Cornell University research. The conclusion is supported by an unlikely source: the exhaust plume from the NASA space shuttle launched a century later. The research, accepted for publication by the journal Geophysical ... more

    Cooking Up Comet Crystals
    Moffett Field CA (SPX) May 21, 2009
    Scientists have long wondered how tiny silicate crystals, which need sizzling high temperatures to form, have found their way into frozen comets, born in the deep freeze of the solar system's outer edges. The crystals would have begun as non-crystallized silicate particles, part of the mix of gas and dust from which the solar system developed. A team of astronomers believes they have foun ... more

    NASA Study Shows Asteroids May Have Accelerated Life On Earth
    Boulder CO (SPX) May 21, 2009
    NASA-funded study indicates that an intense asteroid bombardment nearly 4 billion years ago may not have sterilized the early Earth as completely as previously thought. The asteroids, some the size of Kansas, possibly even provided a boost for early life. The study focused on a particularly cataclysmic occurrence known as the Late Heavy Bombardment, or LHB. This event occurred approximatel ... more

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    Ground-Based Observations Support NASA Comet Missions
    Tucson AZ (SPX) Apr 13, 2009
    As NASA spacecraft continue to explore comets up close, a group of researchers at the Tucson-based Planetary Science Institute is undertaking ground-based observations to complement those missions. The PSI observations will extend the knowledge gained from NASA's comet missions and will aid in planning for a NASA flyby of the comet Tempel 1. During that flyby, scientists hope to take a clo ... more

    "Noise" From LISA Mission Enables Study Of Near-Earth Asteroids
    Washignton DC (SPX) Apr 07, 2009
    Planetary scientists will get some unexpected help from the NASA/ESA LISA satellites thanks to a clever way of turning "noise" from that mission's data into useful information about near-Earth asteroids, according to a paper by Pasquale Tricarico, a scientist at the Tucson-based Planetary Science Institute. LISA is on a mission to detect gravitational waves - a warping of the space/time co ... more

    UK Astronomers Observe Asteroid Before It Crashes Into Earth
    London, UK (SPX) Mar 26, 2009
    UK astronomers, using the Science and Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) William Herschel Telescope on La Palma, observed a rare asteroid as it was hurtling towards our planet and have captured the only spectrum of it before it exploded in our atmosphere. This is the very first time that an asteroid that hit the Earth has been studied before entering our atmosphere, allowing the scient ... more

    Dawn Journal Maintains Good Health
    Pasadena CA (SPX) Mar 10, 2009
    Now boosted into a new solar orbit courtesy of Mars, Dawn continues its interplanetary journey. The spacecraft is healthy and coasting, keeping its main antenna pointed to Earth, as it will for most of the next 3 months. After that, it will resume its familiar routine of devoting most of the time to gently thrusting with its ion propulsion system, with only a short period each week for com ... more

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