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Cave sediments suggest global cooling 13K years ago not caused by asteroid

Cave sediments suggest global cooling 13K years ago not caused by asteroid

Science
July 31 (UPI) -- Geochemical signatures found in sediments recovered from a Texas cave suggest the Younger Dryas, a period of global cooling that occurred 13,000 years ago, was caused by a series of Earth-based processes, not an extraterrestrial impact. Previously, scientists in search of an explanation for the Younger Dryas have pointed to spikes in several rare earth metals as evidence that an asteroid or comet impact triggered the cooling. Advertisement Most recently, when researchers looked at the sedimentary evidence, they found these spikes in rare earth metals actually featured relatively low concentrations of iridium, ruthenium, platinum, palladium and rhenium -- levels inconsistent with an extraterrestrial impact event. "The isotopic signatures and concentrations can be explained...
Iron ‘whiskers’ found covering Itokawa asteroid samples

Iron ‘whiskers’ found covering Itokawa asteroid samples

Science
Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Scientists have found iron "whiskers" on particles from the asteroid samples returned by the Japanese space agency's Hayabusa mission. In 2005, JAXA's Hayabusa probe hunted down and landed on the near-Earth asteroid 25143 Itokawa. Five years later, the spacecraft returned to Earth with soil samples collected from the asteroid's surface -- something that had never been done before. Over the last decade, the Itokawa samples have been analyzed by dozens of scientists, but until recently, the presence of these tiny crystalline threads of iron went unnoticed. The iron whiskers were first spotted by Japanese researcher Toru Matsumoto, currently a visiting scientist with the Institute of Geosciences at the Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena in Germany. Matsumoto identified ...
Asteroid twice the size of the Shard to pass by Earth

Asteroid twice the size of the Shard to pass by Earth

Technology
An asteroid double the size of the Shard will pass by Earth on Saturday night, NASA scientists have said.    The space rock, known as Asteroid 2000 QW7, is set to fly by around three million miles from Earth at 14,361mph, according to the US space agency's jet propulsion laboratory. The asteroid is approximately between 300 and 600 metres wide, according to NASA data, but it poses no danger.In comparison, the Shard, the tallest building in the UK, stands at 309.7 metres high.The 2000 QW7 will be the second of two relatively medium-sized asteroids to pass Earth in a day. Advertisement The other asteroid, 2010 CO1, is somewhat smaller, being between 120 and 260 metres, and was due to pass Earth earl...
Hayabusa-2: Japanese spacecraft makes final touchdown on asteroid

Hayabusa-2: Japanese spacecraft makes final touchdown on asteroid

Science
A Japanese spacecraft has touched down on a faraway asteroid, where it will collect space rock that may hold clues to how the Solar System evolved. The successful contact with the Ryugu asteroid was met with relief and cheering in the control room at Japan's space agency, JAXA.It is the second touchdown for the robotic Hayabusa-2 craft, which grabbed rocks from the asteroid in February. After blasting a crater into Ryugu, it has returned to pick up fresh rubble.As the samples will come from within the asteroid, they will have had reduced exposure to the harsh environment of space.It's hoped the rock will give scientists more data on the origins of the Solar System. Hay...
Asteroid impact exercise offers practice for NASA, ESA scientists and engineers

Asteroid impact exercise offers practice for NASA, ESA scientists and engineers

Science
May 1 (UPI) -- Scientists and engineers from NASA and the European Space Agency, as well as other federal officials and policy makers, are participating in a hypothetical asteroid impact scenario this week. The week-long exercise started on Monday, and while many of the hard decisions have already been made, the scenario will continue to play out on Thursday and Friday. "Every day you'll learn how the hypothetical scenario is playing out," JoAnna Wendel, a science writer with NASA's Planetary Science Division, told UPI. "We're jumping forward into the future to see how the decisions affect the outcome." The exercise is part of the 2019 IAA Planetary Defense Conference, held this week in College Park, Md. "The way that these work is we have a team that creates a fictitious scenario," sai...