Asteroids

Stargazers watch Comet Neowise shoot across the sky on July 19, 2020 outside of Los Angeles, California.

Ten Dazzling Celestial Events to See in 2022

Stargazers in North America can look forward to meteor showers, lunar eclipses and a stunning multi-planet lineup this year

If found to be made of metal and a planetesimal, Psyche could reveal what the inside of planets like Earth looks like underneath the layers of mantle and crust, and further help researchers understand how the Solar System formed.

This Metal-Rich, Potato-Shaped Asteroid Could Be Worth $10 Quintillion

In August, NASA is sending an orbiter to the space object, which may be the partial remains of planet-forming material made of nickel and iron

Two reseach teams analyzed a sample of the Ryugu's surface.

What Five Grams of 'Primordial' Stardust From an Asteroid Tell Scientists About How the Early Solar System Formed

Ryugu is a carbonaceous, water-rich space rock with a unique, dark coloration and porous composition

Over the course of our planet’s history, major impacts by comets and asteroids are plentiful.

The Very Real Effort to Track Killer Asteroids and Comets

In "Don't Look Up," researchers warn authorities about a comet hurtling towards Earth. Such a scenario isn’t just science fiction

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped this picture of the Centaur LD2 as it orbited near Jupiter.

The Ambitious Idea to Study the Evolution of a Comet

Researchers want to send a spacecraft near Jupiter to join up with a chunk of rock and ice as it’s flung toward the sun

Not much is known about mysterious quasisatellites because of their small dimensions, distance, and ability to conceal themselves in the shadows. Kamoʻoalewa is the first quasisatellite to move within observing range of large telescopes.

A Chip Off the Moon May Be Tailing Earth on Its Orbit Around the Sun

Researchers suspect the fragment may have been debris from a cratering event on the lunar surface

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

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