You probably heard about it. Last Monday morning, amateur stargazers and professional astronomers alike looked to the heavens to watch the asteroid known as 2004 BL86 glide by Earth. And while NASA's near-Earth object (NEO) tracking program had long known that this brief visitor was no threat to our planet, it still was a fascinating subject of study.
An asteroid, designated 2004 BL86, will safely swing by Earth next week, marking the closest near-Earth flyby of any known space rock ever.
NASA's unique Dawn spacecraft has already traveled more than three billion miles since its 2007 launch, and has made some serious changes in course after visiting a mysterious protoplanet, known as Vesta. And yet, it's still far from being out of fuel. How can this be? In a new video from NASA, experts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory explain the wonders of ion propulsion.
It is thought that about 66 million years ago, a massive impact led to the full extinction of the dinosaurs (potentially with the help of volcanoes and disease), and a significant portion of prehistoric sea life. Now researchers have found evidence that even the great majority of mammals at this time did not escape destruction.
You may have seen some headlines this week like "Mountain-Sized Asteroid is Heading for Earth!" or "Dangerous Asteroid Headed our Way," but you shouldn't trust the hype. According to NASA's Near-Earth Object Program (NEOP) office, that huge asteroid heading our way isn't even close to being a threat.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has the protoplanet Ceres in its sight, and soon will have a close encounter with this unusual alien world. Still, before Dawn get's there, it may help to answer some questions such as "what exactly is Ceres?"
NASA has recently released a new and educational short films on the asteroid Bennu, a near-Earth space rock that the agency hopes to be collecting samples from by 2018. This mission is a precursor to a larger mission, where NASA will attempt to physically capture an asteroid and bring it into the moon's orbit for further study.
In a case of mistaken identity, a newly active asteroid in our solar system's famous Main Belt is boasting a dusty tail, thinking it's more a comet than an asteroid, according to recent research.
Astronomers have noticed that Earth has had a travel buddy for the last few centuries, and that friend will be sticking around for some time as a "quasi-satellite of Earth."
Government auditors were recently looking into why exactly the United States is falling behind in disarming itself of its old nuclear weapon surplus, and they stumbled upon an unusual excuse: asteroid defense.
If a dangerous meteorite comes heading Earth's way, there's actually only a 10 percent chance that experts behind NASA's near-Earth object (NEO) tracking program will even notice it in time to warn an endangered public.
A newly discovered asteroid will zoom within 25,000 miles of Earth this Sunday, giving astronomers the unique opportunity to observe this fast-moving celestial object.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted what it suspects is an asteroid smashup - the type of collision that can lead to the formation of new planets, according to a new study.
... well, sort of. Experts have determined that a massive asteroid that is due to orbit dangerously close to the Earth is actually composed of rubble spinning at an incredibly fast rate. Somehow, these surface rocks aren't tearing away from the whole to fly off into space, and astrophysicists are wondering why.
Researchers have recently developed the "most accurate model to date" of solar wind affecting an asteroid - a phenomenon that, you may be surprised to learn, could be very dangerous to unprepared astronauts during asteroid missions planned for the near future.