TechnologyScientists say this massive asteroid definitely won’t destroy Earth… yet
NASA's spacecraft is orbiting closer to an asteroid than ever before
In the dark and lonely place that is space, NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission has managed to reach a new level of proximity as it studies an asteroid. After a maneuver, the spacecraft in NASA's asteroid study mission is orbiting closer to a planetary body than any spacecraft has ever come, the space agency said. The mission recently entered a new phase where the spacecraft will orbit about 2,231 feet, or 0.4 miles, above the asteroid Bennu's surface.
If the thought of an asteroid careening toward Earth keeps you up at night you can breathe a little easier today, as scientists have now ruled out a potential impact from the space rock known as 2006 QV89. The rock, which was discovered in 2006, was only visible for a few months after astronomers spotted it, and that wasn’t nearly enough time to forecast its threat potential at the time.
Now, after spotting it once again this month, its course has been plotted for the foreseeable future, and researchers have declared the rock poses no threat to Earth for at least the next century.
NASA’s asteroid probe snapped its closest photo yet of space rock Bennu
NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid probe is giving scientists an even better look at the surface of the space rock known as Bennu now that it's moved even closer to the object.
When scientists lost track of the 100-foot-wide asteroid in late 2006 nobody really knew how big of a danger it might pose to Earth. Based on what they knew at the time, researchers couldn’t rule out the chance that it might impact Earth in the near future, and perhaps even as soon as 2019.
“There is a big difference between knowing where a hazardous asteroid isn’t, and knowing where it is,” David Tholen of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy said in a statement. Tholen led the research effort to re-discover the rock and found numerous potential candidates based on where the asteroid was estimated to be.
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“Our highest priority target for Saturday night was the best 2006 QV89 candidate, and despite some thin cirrus clouds and a lot of moonlight, we needed only four minutes of data to obtain proof that we had found the right object,” Tholen explained.
Further observations helped the team nail down which object was the asteroid in question, and the scientists were able to track its position and orbit with enough accuracy to definitively rule it out as a potential impactor… for the next 100 years, at least.
Unprecedented Close-Up View of Asteroid Shows Rocks That Look Surprisingly Familiar.
On October 3, 2018, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft dropped a lander toward the surface of the asteroid Ryugu from 135 feet up. The lander, MASCOT, hit a boulder, bounced backward, and tumbled 55 feet along the asteroid’s surface before coming to rest upside down in a hole. But this wasn’t the end for MASCOT. The lander was able to flip itself over and snap some incredible images of the rocks on Ryugu, both during its 6-minute descent and its 17 hours on the surface before its batteries died. Scientists have released these images, which could have exciting implications.
Why Harvard Scientists Think This Object Is An Alien Spacecraft
Harvard scientists think that the first interstellar object detected in our solar system, called “Oumuamua,” could be an alien spacecraft. The scientists sought to ...
Scientists: Atom-smasher Won't Bring Armageddon
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