Here's the Rosetta Spacecraft Lining Up Its Asteroid Landing Shot

After a decade of interplanetary travel and a harrowing orbital entry, the ESA's Rosetta spacecraft is finally cruising within 50 kilometers of its target, the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko asteroid. To commemorate the momentous event, the Rosetta snapped this selfie with its target in the background. Up next: landing on… » 9/10/14 5:15pm 9/10/14 5:15pm

Japan's Decade-Long Mission to Mine an Asteroid

1999 JU3: It doesn't sound like a very noteworthy name. It's just one of more than 5,000 Apollo-class asteroids. But 1999 JU3 could become a household name if Japan succeeds in mining it—a mission that JAXA has struggled with for decades, often disastrously. And on Sunday, it revealed the probe that could redeem it. » 9/02/14 5:45pm 9/02/14 5:45pm

An Asteroid With Active Volcanoes Once Wandered the Early Universe

Back in 2008, astronomers detected an asteroid heading straight toward Earth. For the first time ever, they tracked the rock as it veered towards our planet and exploded over the Nubian desert. Now, pieces of the recovered meteorite are beginning to reveal its secrets—like how it once harbored an active volcano. » 8/20/14 2:18pm 8/20/14 2:18pm

Can Congress Grant Private Companies The Right To Mine Asteroids?

U.S. companies are eyeing asteroids as the next frontier in lucrative mining ventures. But, they say, their plans are stymied by the vague status of private ownership in space. Earlier this summer, members of Congress introduced a bill to protect property rights for commercial exploitation of asteroids. Is that legal? » 8/14/14 8:29pm 8/14/14 8:29pm

The 600,000 asteroids that we've discovered so far is one scary view

Looking at this animation—which shows the discovery locations of around 600,000 asteroids spotted in the inner solar system since 1980—I seems like a miracle that we're still around. It's incredible to see how the number detected has increased so rapidly in recent years thanks to new tracking technology. » 6/12/14 3:00pm 6/12/14 3:00pm

Stadium-Sized "Beast" Asteroid Will Nearly* Smash Into Earth Tomorrow

Asteroid 2014 HQ 124, a.k.a. The Beast, is a football stadium-sized behemoth, estimated at nearly a quarter of a mile wide. And on Sunday, it's gonna come perilously close to our beloved home planet. How close? Just a mere 777,000 miles away. In space terms, that's about as close as it gets. » 6/07/14 3:00pm 6/07/14 3:00pm

Watch Astronauts Practice Drilling an Asteroid Underwater

Training for the imminent mission to an asteroid has begun in Houston, and it looks like fun. On Friday, astronauts Stan Love and Steve Bowen jumped in NASA's 40-foot-deep pool to try out a new suit design and several tools that could be used on the asteroid mission slated for the 2020s. Thank God they took a camera… » 5/09/14 5:49pm 5/09/14 5:49pm

Map reveals all asteroid impacts from 2000 to 2013

There have been 26 asteroid impacts recorded from 2000 to 20013 by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization's infrasound detection network. Our friend Félix Pharand-Deschênes sent us this graphic showing the atmospheric impact points. It demonstrates that they're more common, and dangerous, than we would like to… » 4/26/14 4:07am 4/26/14 4:07am

NASA: The Only Thing Stopping a City-Destroying Asteroid Is Blind Luck

So you know how we all kind of thought that our odds of getting destroyed by an asteroid were remarkably low? Yeah, that was wrong. According to new research, the odds of a large-scale asteroid impact are actually three to ten times higher than we thought. And the only thing stopping total and utter destruction?… » 4/18/14 1:00pm 4/18/14 1:00pm

This Ancient Asteroid Strike Was More Insane Than We Realized

Around 3.26 billion years ago — long before the dinosaurs — a massive asteroid measuring nearly 36 miles (58 km) across smashed into the Earth. Geologists have now reconstructed this cataclysmic event, and it was far, far bigger than we thought. Here's how things went down on that fateful day. » 4/10/14 5:19pm 4/10/14 5:19pm

Astronomers found a minor planet with a ring system like Saturn's

For the first time ever, astronomers have identified a small planet with a ring system. They previously thought that such a phenomenon could only happen on large planets like Saturn and Jupiter. But this special space rock, known as 10199 Chariklo, is a small planet called a Centaur. » 3/26/14 3:38pm 3/26/14 3:38pm

Watch a Huge, Newly Discovered Asteroid Almost Graze Earth

This beautiful tracking video shows Asteroid 2013 XY8 buzzing our planet on Tuesday night. It's estimated to be up to 230 feet across, more than three times the size of the Chelyabinsk asteroid that caused havoc earlier this year. And we only discovered it four days ago. This could've gotten hairy. » 12/11/13 1:20pm 12/11/13 1:20pm