As asteroid mining starts looking more and more like a thing that will happen in the near future, one company called Deep Space Industries wants to launch a ship in 2015 that will be able to prospect for mineable asteroids.
Asteroid mining will be here before you know it, but instead of sending wild mountain men into the asteroid belt, the best idea seems to be to rope an asteroid in closer. The Chinese want to pull one into Earth’s orbit, but NASA has a safer idea— pulling an asteroid into the moon’s orbit. It’s close, and if something goes wrong, you crash on the moon.
After spending a year circling and studying the asteroid Vesta, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is now on its way to Ceres. Ceres is the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt and the smallest dwarf planet in the solar system.
At some point, there will be humans walking around on Mars, but before that, there will be humans landing on an asteroid and doing asteroid stuff. And in preparation for this eventual milestone, NASA is currently creating a plan of attack and a strategy for astronauts landing on a gigantic, wobbly rock in space.
We don’t need to use nukes… apparently, a swarm of pebbles could safely deflect an asteroid just as well
In science fiction, deflecting an asteroid that’s hell bent on destroying Earth requires a nuke or a flurry of nukes or some giant ship to crash into it or attaching rockets to fly it away, but you don’t need any of that. Apparently, a flurry of small pebbles could just as easily deflect an asteroid.
Towing a 500 ton asteroid into the outer orbit of Earth sounds like something a James Bond villain might try, but one billionaire says he wants to give it a shot. It’s something that the Chinese government has said might be an option in studying asteroids, and it’s just crazy enough it might work. Or it could kill us all.
Newly discovered asteroid will come near Earth next February, so don’t make any Valentine’s plans just yet
Astronomers are saying that the newly discovered asteroid 2012 DA 14 won’t hit Earth when it crosses paths with our planet next year, but they can’t rule out any future encounters. So maybe, if you want to believe scientists, your Valentine’s Day next year might be safe, but after that, you could be screwed.
The Dawn spacecraft continues to travel around the large asteroid Vesta, getting better and better pictures of the surface from its low altitude orbit and yes, it does in fact look like a giant lump of rock. Scientists are hoping to get some sort of data from Vesta that might fill in our picture of the days of the early solar system.
Of the two largest items in the asteroid belt, Ceres is technically a dwarf planet and Vesta is just a really big fucking asteroid, but new photos from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft show a landscape more akin to a planetary world.
Last night, the asteroid YU55 whizzed between the Earth and the Moon, with the peak viewing time around 6:30pm on the East coast of the US. If you didn’t see it, don’t worry… just because it passed between the Earth and the Moon doesn’t mean it was visible with the naked eye. Since it passed right through the orbit of the Moon, you would have needed a fairly powerful telescope and the knowledge of exactly where to look.
“Did I say won’t hit? My bad, should have carried the 2”
This coming weekend, a 1300 foot wide asteroid called Asteroid 2005 YU55 (the name given to it by scientists, not the name given to it by its people) will pass right between the Earth and the Moon, but will not pose any threat to Earth or life thereupon. But it will be close enough to snap some good pictures.
The Dawn spacecraft has finally reached Vesta and it’s sent back some amazing close-ups of the second largest asteroid in the Asteroid Belt that shows a tiny world filled with mountains and cliffs and craters.