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Japan space probe arrives at asteroid to collect samples

Japan space probe arrives at asteroid to collect samples

Technology
A Japanese space probe arrived at an asteroid Wednesday after a 3½-year journey to undertake a first-ever experiment: blow a crater in the rocky surface to collect samples and bring them back to Earth. The unmanned Hayabusa2 spacecraft reached its base of operations about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the asteroid and some 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said. Over the next year and a half, the robotic explorer will attempt three brief touch-and-go landings to collect samples. If the retrieval and the return journey are successful, the asteroid material could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth. The mission is challenging. Hayabusa2 will spend about two months looking for suitable landing p...
Asteroid set for 'close' 43,300 mile flight past Earth on Friday

Asteroid set for 'close' 43,300 mile flight past Earth on Friday

Science
An asteroid up to 40m in size and only discovered five days ago, is due to skim past the Earth on Friday.Asteroid 2018 CB will pass by at just less than one-fifth the distance between the Earth and the Moon.It was first spotted by the Catalina Sky Survey in Tucson, Arizona, a Nasa-funded project to record potentially hazardous asteroids.However, while the pass is relatively close in astronomical terms, it's nowhere near enough to be a threat.The 15-40m space rock is set to make its closest approach to Earth at 22:27 GMT."Although 2018 CB is quite small, it might well be larger than the asteroid that entered the atmosphere over Chelyabinsk, Russia, almost exactly five years ago, in 2013," said Paul Chodas, manager of Nasa's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies. Media playback is unsupported...
SpaceX 'Starman' travels toward asteroid belt in Tesla Roadster

SpaceX 'Starman' travels toward asteroid belt in Tesla Roadster

Science
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- SpaceX launched a cherry-red Tesla roadster and a mannequin driver into space along with its Falcon Heavy rocket on Tuesday.A four-hour livestream chronicled the adventures of the mannequin, known as "Starman," providing stunning images as it started on an elliptic orbit toward Mars -- though it has exceeded the Mars orbit and is expected to head toward the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.Elon Musk, founder and CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, said the car's stereo was playing David Bowie's "Space Oddity," as images from the livestream showed a message reading "DON'T PANIC" on the dashboard.Earth loomed large in the background as the Roadster gently glided through space and its passenger, fitted with SpaceX's new space suit, casually rested its left arm on the driver's ...
Bizarre shape of interstellar asteroid

Bizarre shape of interstellar asteroid

Science
An asteroid that visited us from interstellar space is one of the most elongated cosmic objects known to science, a study has shown.Discovered on 19 October, the object's speed and trajectory strongly suggested it originated in a planetary system around another star.Astronomers have been scrambling to observe the unique space rock, known as 'Oumuamua, before it fades from view.Their results so far suggest it is at least 10 times longer than it is wide.That ratio is more extreme than that of any asteroid or comet ever observed in our Solar System.Interstellar visitor given a nameUsing observations from the Very Large Telescope in Chile, Karen Meech, from the Institute for Astronomy in Honolulu, Hawaii, and colleagues determined that the object was about 400m long, rapidly rotating and subje...
New observations of first-known interstellar asteroid reveals spaceship-like rock

New observations of first-known interstellar asteroid reveals spaceship-like rock

Science
Nov. 20 (UPI) -- According to new observations of A/2017 U1, the first-known interstellar asteroid, the space rock is highly elongated, dark, reddish and rich in metals.The asteroid, dubbed 'Oumuamua, was first spotted on Oct. 19 using the University of Hawaii's Pan-STARRS 1 telescope. The initial observations of the object -- first classified as a comet and later reclassified as an asteroid -- suggested its origins lied outside the solar system.By the time scientists spotted the asteroid, it was already moving away from their telescopes."We had to act quickly," Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany, said in a news release. "'Oumuamua had already passed its closest point to the sun and was heading back into interstellar space."[embedded co...