Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) alluded to the meteor that exploded in the sky above Russia early this morning. More than 900 injuries, mostly from shattered glass, were reported in the city of Chelyabinsk, about 950 miles east of Moscow. In … Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Fiery meteor explodes over Russia's Ural Mountains; 1,100 injured as shock wave breaks windows.
- Watch asteroid 2012 DA14 fade out via streaming video.
- Iceland wants to ban Internet porn.
- Chubby Checker in a twist over an old app.
- One Direction's new toothbrush streams sound vibrations through your teeth.… Read more
The sky is totally falling.
As if it weren't enough that a meteor boomed across the Russian sky today, shattering windows and injuring about 1,000 people, an asteroid 150 feet across is about to sideswipe our planet.
Asteroid 2012 DA14, while unrelated to the meteor, is just as scary. It will graze us at just 17,200 miles from the surface, passing between Earth and our geosynchronous weather and communications satellites.
Possible asteroid strikes are no joke, and if you ask me (or the dinosaurs), they represent the biggest threat to our planet aside from human stupidity.
Fortunately, some non-stupid humans are finally getting serious about countering this threat. … Read more
The latest tally of meteorite-related injuries in Russia's Chelyabinsk region has reached about 1,000 -- most suffered from shards of glass that went flying when the meteor entered the atmosphere and sounded loud, window-shattering booms on its way to the ground earlier today.
Today has been an unusually active day for news involving big rocks from space. While the large Asteroid 2012 DA14 is passing closer to the surface of Earth than many of our satellites, an apparently unrelated meteorite streaked across the early morning Siberian sky, damaging buildings and thus injuring people in its path.
A Russian … Read more
In less than 24 hours, a 150 foot-wide asteroid will complete a remarkably close, but safe, flyby. For weeks, scientists have been tracking the path of the small near-Earth asteroid known as 2012 DA14, which is on course to swing by the Earth tomorrow at 11:24 a.m. PT.
Again, no need to panic about a collision with Earth, which would be, in a word, catastrophic. If a space rock of this magnitude crashed into us, scientists say, it would release about 2.5 megatons of energy into the atmosphere. The last time an asteroid this size smacked into … Read more
In a few days, sky watchers in Eastern Europe, Asia, and Australia will get a chance to see one big rock hurtling through the heavens. One very big rock. Compared with other asteroids traveling through space, this one may seem a relative pebble -- at half the size of a football field -- but for Earth, it will make for a relatively close call.
"This is a record-setting close approach," says Don Yeomans of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at JPL. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth." … Read more
An asteroid big enough to level a major metropolitan area (probably several of them, actually) will definitely not be doing any such thing this month, but it will come pretty darn close.
First spotted by a Spanish observatory last year, small asteroid 2012 DA14 (in this case "small" means about 150 feet in diameter, or roughly the size of a supermarket) will pass within 3.5 Earth radii of the surface of our planet on February 15.
That means that this big, menacing, but ultimately harmless space rock will actually be closer to us than our many satellites in geosynchronous orbit about 22,000 miles above the equator.… Read more
When asteroids attack, dinosaurs lose. Though there are still competing theories as to why we lost awesome animals like Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptors, many scientists look to a long-ago asteroid impact to explain the wipeout.
A study published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters adds a new wrinkle to the asteroid assumption by suggesting that the dinos may have had to contend with not one, but two deadly balls of flying space rock. Titled "Morphology and population of binary asteroid impact craters," the study was lead by Katarina Miljkovic from the Institute of Earth Physics in Paris.
If you look out into space around Earth, you'll find that about 15 percent of asteroids are binary, meaning they're traveling in pairs. However, only 2 to 4 percent of craters on Earth have been labeled as binary impacts. Miljkovic believes this number is under-reported and that many binary asteroids have been overlooked because their craters overlap.… Read more
If you think searching the Internet is way too fast and easy, I have the perfect online game for you. Google-Asteroids makes you slow down and really savor the search experience, one laser blast at a time.
Created by Masswerk.at, Google-Asteroids is labeled as an "info-shooter." You have to blast your way through the alphabet letter by letter to set your search term. Launch the search and you find yourself in an old-school-gaming asteroid field. Blast away at the asteroids floating by and you slowly reveal the search results in your score list.… Read more
I'm in search of a new phrase to replace "pie in the sky" to describe the latest ambitious space mining startup. On its face, the notion of 3D printers on asteroids seems more ridiculous to me than a simple lemon meringue in the clouds, and yet that is exactly what the just-launched venture Deep Space Industries (DSI) proposes to do.
Less than a year after Planetary Resources announced its own plans to mine asteroids in space, DSI is upping the ante with its own vision for zero-gravity resource extraction that goes one step further to include actually producing things in space using the company's "MicroGravity Foundry... a patent-pending breakthrough in 3D printers able to output complex metal components using a simple process with few moving parts."
The idea is that it should be much cheaper and more efficient to build what's needed to further space exploration using resources extracted from asteroids than shuttling materials from Earth. Imagine sending a robot into a mountain with some mining tools and a 3D printer. The robot mines material to feed into the 3D printer, which prints up more robots and supplies to build a smelter at the mouth of the mine, which is then used to build even bigger things. You get the idea.… Read more