Asteroids

Lucy measures more than 46 feet wide, and about 24 feet tall and is equipped with solar arrays on its main body that allow it to power up its instruments. Each camera will enable Lucy to study the surface of the asteroids, detect traces of water or minerals, and count craters or rings.

 

NASA's Lucy Probe Asteroid Mission Will Study Fossil-Like Origins of Our Solar System

The spacecraft launches on October 16 and is expected to reach its target by 2027

This mosaic of Bennu was created using observations made by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft that was in close proximity to the asteroid for over two years.

In 2182, It Could Be Cloudy With a Chance of Asteroid

Scientists calculate Bennu will come close, but will most likely miss Earth in about 160 years

An illustration depicting some of the dinosaurs that roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous.

New Research

Dinosaurs May Have Been Declining Before the Asteroid Struck Earth

The researchers say the cataclysmic impact may have simply been the final nail in the dinos’ coffin

An artist’s illustration shows an asteroid hitting Earth. Large impactors hit the planet every one to three million years.

New Research of Impact Crater Blows Away Previous Estimates of Its Age

Scientists say the Boltysh crater in Ukraine formed well after the impact in Mexico that caused the dinosaurs to go extinct

The fireball cruising across the sky was most likely a fragment of an asteroid called a 'bolide'.

Fireball Illuminates Skies Across East Coast of Florida

The asteroid fragment weighed 900 pounds and hit Earth's atmosphere at 38,000 miles per hour

A new study suggests the lush, hyper-diverse rainforests of South America were shaped by the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs.

How the Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Spurred the Evolution of the Modern Rainforest

New evidence from fossil plants shows today’s South American rainforests arose in the wake of Earth’s fifth mass extinction

Researchers propose storing genetic material from each of Earth's 6.7 million species of known organisms to safeguard life on our planet from annihilation.

Sending DNA From Earth's 6.7 Million Species to the Moon to Safeguard Life

Researchers propose constructing a 'lunar ark' to provide our planet with a 'reset button' in the event of a world-ending catastrophe

Published in Scientific Reports, the new study by astronomers Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, propose that a series of break-ups and chance events sent the huge chunk of space rock our way.

Astrophysicists Chart Source of Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs

A new model explains a possible route for the extraterrestrial rock before it blasted Earth

A Japanese space capsule seen falling back to Earth over Australia. The capsule, released from the JAXA space probe Hayabusa2, contains samples of an asteroid called Ryugu that is located roughly 180 million miles from our planet.

Japan Retrieves Space Capsule Full of Asteroid Samples in Australia

The successful landing marks the completion of Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission, which studied the 3,000-foot-wide asteroid Ryugu

This artist's rendering shows the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft descending towards asteroid Bennu to collect a sample.

NASA Snags Its First Asteroid Sample

On a mission more than 200 million miles away from Earth, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft grabbed rocks from Bennu

Bennu is shaped like a three-dimensional diamond and seemingly smooth from far away. OSIRIS-REx is in the foreground of this artist’s replication. The spacecraft will gather a sample from Bennu next week.

Smithsonian Voices

What an Asteroid Could Tell Us About Ancient Earth

Knowing those rocks’ origins will help scientists learn more about the composition of objects in the solar system and asteroid belt

This mosaic of Bennu was created using observations made by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft that was in close proximity to the asteroid for over two years.

New Research

Asteroid Bennu Could Shed Light on How Ingredients for Life Reached Earth

New, detailed imagery of the asteroid’s surface show that it’s covered in boulders and carbon-containing molecules

The projected path for 2020 SO, a space object that astronomers predict will become Earth's mini-moon in October, possibly staying until May 2021. The blue object in the center of the circle is Earth.

Earth May Soon Get Another Mini-Moon, but It's Probably Just a Piece of Space Trash

It could be an asteroid—or, as one astronomer suggests, it could be a rocket booster from the 1960s

This orthographic projection shows Ceres, centered on Occator crater and the brightest spot on Ceres.

New Research

NASA Mission Shows Dwarf Planet Ceres Is Geologically Active

Seven studies of data from the Dawn spacecraft’s final orbit makes the case for liquid under the dwarf planet's surface

Artist's impression of the Chicxulub impact.

After the Dinosaur-Killing Impact, Soot Played a Remarkable Role in Extinction

The famous impact 66 million years ago kicked up soot into the atmosphere that played an even bigger role in blocking sunlight than experts had realized

An artist's impression of 'Oumuamua, first spotted in 2017.

Scientists Suggest New Origin Story for 'Oumuamua, Our Solar System’s First Interstellar Visitor

Perhaps the cigar-shaped object is a shard from a shredded planetary body, a computer simulation suggests

Hayabusa2 deployed a camera to film the plume of regolith thrown up by the impact.

New Research

Japan's Experiment to Calculate an Asteroid's Age Was a Smashing Success

The spacecraft Hayabusa2 hurled a four-pound copper ball toward the asteroid's surface at about 4,500 miles an hour to create an artificial crater

An artist's concept of the solar system

Where Will NASA Explore Next? Here Are the Four Shortlisted Missions

Targets include Venus, Jupiter’s moon Io and Neptune’s moon Triton

The asteroid Pallas, imaged by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope

The Most Cratered Object in the Asteroid Belt Looks Like a Golf Ball

Pallas's odd orbit sends it crashing through the asteroid belt, colliding with other objects along the way

An image of asteroid 2020 AV2, taken on January 8, 2020 by the Elena robotic unit part of the Virtual Telescope Project

Astronomers Spot First Asteroid Nearer to the Sun Than Venus

Such “intervenusian” rocks are both rare and difficult to detect

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