Every once in a while, our planet captures a “mini-moon,” a tiny asteroid that hangs out in our orbit for a bit before venturing back into the depths of space. New research suggests these small, temporary natural satellites carry tremendous scientific and commercial opportunities—but the trick will be in finding them.
Earlier today, Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft came tantalizingly close to Ryugu, offering an unprecedented view of the asteroid’s boulder-strewn surface.
More than 500 different shark species roam Earth’s oceans: from zippy little cookie-cutter sharks, to the iconic great white, to nightmarish goblin sharks, to 25-foot-long, filter-feeding basking sharks. And it seems that the current equilibrium of shark species we see today arose after the Cretaceous–Paleogene mass…
The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 has made some of its closest approaches to asteroid Ryugu yet, returning breathtaking images. Here you can see the an image of the asteroid from just six kilometers (3.72 miles) away. One pixel in the image is around 60 centimeters (1.9 feet).
When is an asteroid not an asteroid? When it’s a binary pair. Turns out that an asteroid discovered late last year is actually two gravitationally bound objects in orbit around each other. But this particular duo, dubbed 2017 YE5, belongs to an exceptionally rare class of near-Earth objects.
Last month, a fireball lit up the skies over Botswana just hours after scientists first spotted the space rock hurtling toward Earth. Researchers from Botswana, South Africa, Finland, and the United States have now found pieces of the meteorite.
The Rosetta mission’s Philae lander descended toward the two-and-a-half-mile-wide comet at a human’s walking pace. For seven tense hours, scientists in Darmstadt, Germany monitored its radio signal. They would have no idea whether they’d done everything correctly until after the moment of touchdown. If all went well,…
After nearly four years of traveling through space, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft has successfully rendezvoused with the Ryugu asteroid, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency confirmed Wednesday. Let the next stage of this historic sampling-and-return mission begin!
The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft‘s latest photo of the Ryugu asteroid, taken from a distance of just 25 miles (40 km), shows for the first time surface features like boulders and craters, in addition to revealing the object’s unique dice-like appearance.
A meteor lit up the sky over Botswana, Africa, early Saturday evening. Scientists discovered the six-foot-wide asteroid just hours before it reached Earth.
It turns out that 8,000 tiny plastic disks in a rotating drum could help scientists develop a technique to forecast avalanches or earthquakes through sound.
Asteroid 2015 BZ509 is orbiting the wrong way around the Sun. Why? According to a hyped new paper from astronomers Fathi Namouni and Helen Morais, this asteroid with its contrary orbit may not be native to our Solar System at all—it may have been captured from interstellar space.
A rock that formed in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter seems to have somehow traveled to the orbit of Neptune, according to a new observation.
You may have heard the theory that asteroids are responsible for Earth’s water. You may also have thought, hah, there’s no way that asteroids could have brought all that water to Earth. But fake asteroid impacts are now demonstrating that, yeah, maybe they did.
An asteroid approximately the size of a football field flew close by Earth only a day after it was first spotted this weekend. This near miss is a perfect example of an argument I’ve been making for some time: These are the asteroids we should worry about, not the so-called potentially hazardous rocks being tracked by…
China’s defunct space station Tiangong-1 will soon plummet toward Earth, likely this weekend. You will almost certainly not be harmed in any way by it—the odds of it striking an individual person are worse than winning the lottery or being struck by lightning. You should not worry about it.
Last October, astronomers detected the very first interstellar object, an asteroid dubbed ‘Oumuamua. New research suggests this visitor from afar likely came from a binary star system, and that astronomers should be on the lookout for both interstellar asteroids and comets.
You may have thought, “Hey, if we’re threatened by an incoming asteroid, we should just nuke it!” You’re not alone: a team of Russian scientists are working on a plot to do so, by detonating miniature asteroids in a lab.