Category Archives: asteroids

1950 DA, The (not so) Friendly Neighborhood Asteroid

1950 DA is an asteroid that was discovered in 1950 (hence the name) by Carl A. Wirtanen. After it was first discovered, it was lost after 17 days of observation because the period was too short to determine the asteroid’s future location. It was rediscovered in December 2000 and recognized as 1950 DA in January … Continue reading 1950 DA, The (not so) Friendly Neighborhood Asteroid Continue reading Continue reading

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Never Tell Me The Odds

One of the best getaway scenes in movie history is in The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo navigates the Millennium Falcon through an asteroid field, with TIE Fighters in hot pursuit. The scene starts with the Falcon getting hit by two asteroids. The asteroid field appears to have thousands of asteroids all flying around … Continue reading Never Tell Me The Odds Continue reading Continue reading

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Asteroid Defense Systems

As it currently stands, Earth has no recourse if a large asteroid decides to strike. Something on the scale of the Cretaceous-Paleogene event would devastate humanity. So, how do we protect ourselves against such an impact? Enter NASA and the “National Near-Earth Object Preparedness and Strategy Plan.” According to them, five steps need to be … Continue reading Asteroid Defense Systems Continue reading Continue reading

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Expanding a Trillion Dollar Industry

Many are familiar with mining on Earth to obtain resources that we use for all sorts of things on the planet. What many don’t know is that this process can be, and most likely will be, expanded beyond the planet. Asteroids contain many of the resources found on Earth since they are basically leftover material … Continue reading Expanding a Trillion Dollar Industry Continue reading Continue reading

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Kuiper Belt Objects…What Are They?

Kuiper Belt Objects are unique in that they have different compositions than most asteroids and different orbits than most comets. This has led astronomers to contemplate the identity of Kuiper Belt Objects. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t so clear. Asteroids are mostly composed of rock while comets are mostly composed of rock and ice. Most Kuiper … Continue reading “Kuiper Belt Objects…What Are They?” Continue reading Continue reading

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The Trojans and Greeks

As was recently discussed in class, there are two clusters of asteroids ahead of and behind Jupiter known as the “Trojans” and the “Greeks”. The first one to be discovered was an asteroid now known as “Achilles”, a hero who fought on the Greek side of the Trojan War. The Greeks are all slightly ahead […]Continue reading Continue reading

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Asteroids: Death, or Life?

Just hitching a ride Most people don’t think of asteroids as the bringer of life to Earth. Actually, for many, it’s the exact opposite. When someone says asteroids many people automatically think about mass extinctions, specifically the extinction of the dinosaurs (which was caused by a large asteroid). However, there is a theory called panspermia which […] Continue reading Continue reading

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Meteorite Chemicals Form Building Blocks of Life

A research team at the Tuscia University in Italy has released a study suggesting that the kick-starter for early life may have hitched a ride to earth on the backs of meteorites. Formaldehyde, an organic compound that is posited as the key building block for early microbial life, is known to exist in the centers […] Continue reading Continue reading

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The Mystery of the Mass Extinction

Before reading the section in Chapter 12 of the textbook on cosmic collisions (Section 12.4), I had not realized that there exists some controversy as to whether or not an impact killed the dinosaurs. I had always been taught that an asteroid hitting the Earth resulted in the mass extinction and had never considered that […] Continue reading Continue reading

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The K-T Extinction: Asteroids and Atmospheres

Let’s talk about the dinosaurs. Everyone has heard the story: Dinosaurs roamed the Earth ages ago until an asteroid hit and caused all of them to go extinct. There was a huge amount of dust thrown up into the atmosphere which blocked out the Sun and caused plants to die. This set off a chain […] Continue reading Continue reading

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