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NASA Concept – Asteroid Survey

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program promotes ideas to innovate aerospace. One of the proposals currently being studied by NIAC involves a survey of asteroids. NASA 360 Presents – From Science Fiction to Science Fact – [] Is suspended animation possible? Can we 3D print whole structures on the moon? How about swimming the […]

Deflecting an Asteroid Threat

Movies like to portray the ultimate defense against an asteroid threatening life on planet Earth as a nuclear weapon tipped missile. This makes little sense. We think of our Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) as being long range because they are compared to most of our other weapon systems. But in the sense of interplanetary […]

Niku Is A Rebel From The Oort Cloud

Niku Is A Rebel From The Oort Cloud

Niku is an object that orbits our Sun, but at a great enough distance to be considered a “trans-neptunian object”. Objects with an average orbital distance from the Sun greater than the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU), earn this tag. Niku is likely to be a chunk of rock, but it might also contain […]

Voyage to Asteroid “Bennu”

NASA has launched a spacecraft mission called OSIRIS-REx, which will spend several years traveling toward an intercept with an asteroid that is called, “101955 Bennu” in the year 2020. Bennu is part of a group that is known as the “Apollo” class of asteroids and is categorized as a “Near Earth Asteroid” because it crosses […]

The Difference Between Asteroids, Comets, and Dwarf Planets

Ceres was discovered in 1801 as the first asteroid. Pluto was discovered in 1930 as the ninth planet in the Solar System. But recently, it was reclassified as a “dwarf planet”. Let’s take a look at how the classification works for asteroids, comets, and dwarf planets: Asteroid – a mostly rocky object that is smaller […]

Objects in Space Beyond Neptune

Objects in Space Beyond Neptune

Pluto was once categorized as a planet, because we didn’t have a clear definition of what a planet is and because the objects we called planets were basically all the large objects we found orbiting the Sun. But then things changed. Around the year 2000, a team of astronomers headed by Mike Brown began discovering […]

Asteroid Mining Process

In order to mine valuable materials from asteroids, we’ll need to establish some new technologies and processes: Prospecting – asteroids will be mined for: valuable metals & minerals, volatiles (ice, water, oxygen, hydrogen), stony ores, and even the regolith (dirt) will be used. Most prospecting will be done by bots or drones, automatically. Prospect claiming […]

The Horseshoe Orbit Asteroid

Asteroid 2010 SO16 follows an orbit close to the orbit of Earth. Sometimes it’s a little closer to the Sun at about 0.996 AU and sometimes it’s a little farther from the Sun at 1.004 AU. When the orbit is inside that of Earth, the asteroid travels faster than Earth and slowly catches up to […]

Evolving Intelligence is a Knife’s Edge Balance

Fast Evolution vs Slow Evolution Evolving intelligence too quickly can threaten the survival of an intelligent species because advanced technology is dangerous without an equivalent level of ethics. On the other hand, evolving intelligence too slowly can threaten the survival of an intelligent species because natural cause events can exterminate a species without the technology […]

Video of Ceres from DAWN Images

Ceres can be considered as either a large asteroid or a small planet, often called a dwarf planet. It is almost 590 miles (950 kilometers) across, as big as the state of Texas. It is located in the asteroid belt, at an orbit of about 2.8 AUs or 419 million kilometers from the Sun. (Earth […]