Asteroid Vesta

Vesta is Actually an Ancient Protoplanet

New observations from a NASA Dawn spacecraft show that the huge asteroid Vesta is a battered protoplanet left over from the solar system’s early days, with a unique mix of characteristics unknown from any other space rock. Scientists had thought that Vesta, the second-largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, probably started down a planet-forming path shortly after the solar system’s birth. Many other Vesta-like objects were incorporated into rocky worlds such as Earth, but Vesta’s development along this path was halted.

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Secrets of Giant Asteroid Vesta

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft reveal new details about the giant asteroid Vesta, including its varied surface composition, sharp temperature changes and clues to its internal structure. Images from Dawn’s framing camera and visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, taken 420 miles (680 kilometers) and 130 miles (210 kilometers) above the surface of the asteroid, show a variety of surface mineral and rock patterns.

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Dawn Gets 40 Extra Days Time to Explore Vesta

NASA’s Dawn mission has received official confirmation that 40 extra days have been added to its exploration of the giant asteroid Vesta, the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt. The mission extension allows Dawn to continue its scientific observations at asteroid Vesta until August 26, while still arriving at the dwarf planet Ceres at the same originally scheduled target date in February 2015.

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Asteroid 2012 EG5 Close Approach

An asteroid with the size of a passenger jet zoomed near the Earth Sunday, on April 1,2012. The asteroid, which called 2012 EG5, was closer than the moon when it flew by Earth at 5:32 a.m. EDT (0932 GMT). According to Nasa the space rock is about 150 feet wide (46 meters). The asteroid 2012 EG5 crept within 143,000 miles (230,000 kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach, which is just over half the distance between Earth and the moon’s orbit.

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NASA Unveiled New Atlas and Catalog of Entire Infrared Sky

NASA unveiled a new atlas and catalog of the entire infrared sky showing more than a half billion stars, galaxies and other objects captured by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. WISE launched December 14, 2009, and mapped the entire sky in 2010 with vastly better sensitivity than its predecessors. It collected more than 2.7 million images taken at four infrared wavelengths of light, capturing everything from nearby asteroids to distant galaxies. Since then, the team has been processing more than 15 trillion bytes of returned data.

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Norwegian Family Found Rare Meteorite

A family Thomassens in Oslo got a surprise when they visited their allotment garden cabin for the first time this season and found that a 585-gram (20 oz.) meteorite had ripped a hole through the roof. The space rock was discovered lying five or six metres away. Astrophysicist Knut Jorgen Roed Odegaard from the University of Oslo investigated the report and found it to be genuine meteorite. He told that we can tell immediately that it’s genuine from the burned crust, and we can also recognize it from how rough and unusual it is.

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Huge Space Rock May Have Collided With Earth 13000 Years Ago

New evidence supports the idea that a huge space rock collided with our planet about 13,000 years ago and broke up in Earth’s atmosphere. This impact would have been powerful enough to melt the ground, and could have killed off many large mammals and humans. According to researchers it may even have set off a period of unusual cold called the Younger Dryas that began at that time. The idea that Earth experienced an asteroid or comet impact at the start of the Younger Dryas has been controversial, in part because there is no smoking-gun impact crater left behind as with other known events in our planet’s past.

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Asteroids Smacked Moon Stronger During Period Lunar Cataclysm

A team of researchers from the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI) at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., tracked the history of crater formation on the moon using digital maps, and found evidence of a dramatic shift in the velocity and energy of the asteroid bombardment during a period called the “lunar cataclysm” that occurred 4 billion years ago. According to researchers the timing of this shift could coincide with disturbances in the solar system’s main asteroid belt caused by changes in the movement of the outer planets.

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Probe Hayabusa’s Asteroid Samples Reveal Surprising Look at Space Rock Crashes

The Japanese asteroid probe Hayabusa succeeded in returning more than 1,500 grains of dust from the asteroid 25143 Itokawa when it parachuted into the Australian outback in June 2010. Already, the samples from this 1,800 foot-long (550 meter) rubble pile have helped solve the longstanding mystery of where most meteorites striking our planet come from. To uncover still more details about asteroids, scientists analyzed the size, mineralogy, shape and geochemistry of five dust grains recovered by Hayabusa.

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