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Category: Asteroid Belt

Asteroid Belt

WISE Finds New Asteroids

New Spacecraft Discovers Dozens of Asteroids … Every Day – [space.com] Dozens of asteroids that have been lurking undetected in our solar system are being discovered every day by NASA’s newest space telescope, scientists say. The Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) telescope was designed to search for “dark” objects in space, such as brown dwarf […]

21 Lutetia

21 Lutetia is a main belt asteroid, about 100 kilometers in diameter and classified spectrally as M-type or metallic. Rosetta is a space probe that will fly by 21 Lutetia in July of 2010. Rosetta was launched in 2004 and is on a mission to investigate a comet in 2014. On the way to that […]

Antarctic Asteroid Crater

It is possible that one of the largest asteroid impacts in the history of the Earth has been located in Antarctica. A land mass concentration detected by satellite mapping of the gravitational field suggests a crater that is around 500 km in diameter (300 miles) and was probably created about 250 million years ago. It […]

Asteroid Collision

It is possible (but not yet confirmed) that astronomers have observed a collision in the asteroid belt for the first time. Mystery Object Behaves Both Like a Comet and Asteroid – [discovery.com] Something awfully curious is happening 250 million miles away in the asteroid belt. Astronomers think they may be witnessing a never-before-seen collision between […]

Hayabusa Returns

Hayabusa (Falcon), the little engine that could in space, is on the way back from the asteroid belt. Nov 3, 2005 Japan’s Hayabusa Closes in on Asteroid Landing Site – [space.com] Stunning imagery is being returned by Japan’s Hayabusa space probe as it draws closer to its celestial target: asteroid Itokawa. Now just a few […]

Water on Ceres

Ceres is the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt and was the first asteroid ever discovered, in 1802. Recent data collected by the Hubble Space Telescope suggest that the outer mantle of Ceres is frozen liquid containing ammonia and water. There is evidence that Ceres may be as much as 20% water. We will probably […]

Dawn in the Belt

The Dawn probe spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral in September of 2007, used Mars as a slingshot in February of 2009 and has now reached the asteroid belt, where it will remain. Dawn Takes up Residence in Asteroid Belt – [universetoday.com] The Dawn spacecraft – which is on a course to study the asteroid […]

Oort Cloud

In 1950, Dutch astronomer Jan Oort (building on an idea originated by Ernst Opik) proposed that a hypothetical and massive cloud of comets that orbit far from the center of our solar system might explain why comets don’t seem to originate from deep space and often have an outer orbital edge about 20-50,000 AUs from […]

Kuiper Belt

Discovered in 1992, the Kuiper Belt is a large expanse of space just outside the edge of our solar system that contains a large number of small objects. This belt is similar to the asteroid belt, but is much larger, much farther away and may contain more frozen water and volatile gases than the metallic […]

Small Rocks

We know about the location of many large and medium sized asteroids, but we also know that we have not yet located all of the smaller rocks that may pose threats to life on Earth. Finding them is problematic and getting funding for the search is only the first step. The Tunguska explosion in Siberia […]