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how gravity assists work: asteroid probe's 'interplanetary billiards' flyby expl


after already traveling millions of miles into space, a nasa asteroid probe will soon return to earth to take advantage of the planet's gravity.






look up and wave! osiris-rex asteroid probe flies by earth today


a nasa spacecraft will zoom past earth today (sept. 22) on its way toward a distant asteroid, and you can give the probe a proper send-off.






wave to asteroid probe osiris-rex on its flyby, and snap a photo for nasa


nasa's osiris-rex spacecraft will make a close flyby of earth before shooting out toward the asteroid bennu, and skywatchers will have the opportunity to wave goodbye to the probe as it passes overhead.






nasa spacecraft buzzes earth on way to distant asteroid bennu


the osiris-rex probe zoomed past our planet this afternoon (sept. 22), a little over a year after launching on a mission to the big near-earth asteroid bennu.






asteroid probe's 'interplanetary billiards' flyby explained


after already traveling millions of miles into space, a nasa asteroid probe will soon return to earth to take advantage of the planet's gravity. at 12:52 p.m. edt (9:52 a.m. pdt) on friday (sept. 22), nasa's osiris-rex spacecraft will zoom 11,000 miles (18,000 miles) over antarctica at a breakneck speed of 19,000 mph (31,000 km/h). using earth's gravity, the probe will adjust its orbit so it can rendezvous with near-earth asteroid bennu in late 2018.  osiris-rex launched toward deep interplanetary space on sept. 8, 2016, and it's made several small course adjustments since then to get on course for friday's flyby with earth. [osiris-rex: an asteroid mission in pictures] but if osiris-rex is going to an asteroid, why did nasa bring the probe back to its home planet after it had already trav






nasa's osiris-rex spacecraft buzzes earth on way to distant asteroid bennu


a nasa asteroid-sampling probe has just said goodbye to earth for the second time. the osiris-rex spacecraft zoomed past our planet this afternoon (sept. 22), a little over a year after launching on a mission to the big near-earth asteroid bennu. the probe's closest approach came at 12:52 p.m. edt (1752 gmt), when osiris-rex passed a mere 10,711 miles (17,237 kilometers) above antarctica near the southern tip of south america, nasa officials said. [osiris-rex: nasa's asteroid sample-return mission in pictures] osiris-rex didn't come back because it was homesick. today's flyby was designed to boost the probe's speed and refine its course toward the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) bennu, whose orbit around the sun is tilted by 6 degrees relative to that of earth.this artist's illustration shows






big asteroid’s closest fly-by in at least 400 years


a ~2000-foot (650 m) asteroid named 2014 jo25 will fly by earth on april 19, 2017. it will pass at a safe distance of  ~1.1 million miles (1.8 million km). this will be the closest fly-by of an asteroid this size or bigger since asteroid toutatis in 2004. 






nasa's asteroid-sampling spacecraft spotted zooming toward earth (video)


a telescope has captured the first views of nasa's asteroid-sampling osiris-rex spacecraft since the probe launched a year ago.






nasa's asteroid-sampling spacecraft spotted zooming toward earth (video)


a telescope has captured the first views of nasa's asteroid-sampling osiris-rex spacecraft since the probe launched a year ago. the large binocular telescope observatory (lbto) in arizona snapped a series of photos of osiris-rex, which is headed toward earth for a sept. 23 flyby designed to slingshot the craft toward the asteroid bennu. the pictures were taken sept. 2, when osiris-rex was about 7 million miles (12 million kilometers) from earth, nasa officials said. the images are cropped and magnified, and black and white are reversed to make the faint spacecraft easier to see. [osiris-rex: nasa's asteroid sample-return mission in pictures]the large binocular telescope in arizona captured these views of nasa's osiris-rex asteroid-sampling spacecraft on sept. 2, 2017, when the probe was ab






'asteroid hunters' look to defend earth: q&a with author carrie nugent


the solar system is much wilder and more chaotic than most people think, and vigilant scientists are all that stand between earth and a catastrophic asteroid impact, according to a new book on the science of asteroid monitoring and tracking.






look up and wave! osiris-rex asteroid probe flies by earth today


a nasa spacecraft will zoom past earth today (sept. 22) on its way to a distant asteroid, and you can give the probe a proper send-off. the osiris-rex spacecraft will cruise within just 10,500 miles (17,000 kilometers) of earth at 12:52 p.m. edt (1652 gmt) today, using our planet's gravity to slingshot itself toward the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) asteroid bennu. nasa is encouraging folks around the world to wave at osiris-rex as it goes by today — and to post photos of themselves doing this on twitter, instagram and facebook using the hashtag #helloosirisrex. (you can tag the mission as well; its handle is @osirisrex.) [osiris-rex: nasa's asteroid sample-return mission in pictures] if you have a telescope with an aperture of 8 inches (20 centimeters) or larger, you may even be able to ge






look up and wave! osiris-rex asteroid probe flies by earth today


a nasa spacecraft will zoom past earth today (sept. 22) on its way to a distant asteroid, and you can give the probe a proper send-off. the osiris-rex spacecraft will cruise within just 10,500 miles (17,000 kilometers) of earth at 12:52 p.m. edt (1652 gmt) today, using our planet's gravity to slingshot itself toward the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) asteroid bennu. nasa is encouraging folks around the world to wave at osiris-rex as it goes by today — and to post photos of themselves doing this on twitter, instagram and facebook using the hashtag #helloosirisrex. (you can tag the mission as well; its handle is @osirisrex.) [osiris-rex: nasa's asteroid sample-return mission in pictures] if you have a telescope with an aperture of 8 inches (20 centimeters) or larger, you may even be able to ge






big asteroid’s closest fly-by in at least 400 years - radar imagery


a ~4200-foot (~1.3 km) asteroid named 2014 jo25 will fly by earth on april 19, 2017. it will pass at a safe distance of  ~1.1 million miles (1.8 million km). delay-doppler imagery of the asteroid from the arecibo observatory suggests that it is double the size that was previously thought. this will be the closest fly-by of an asteroid this size or bigger since asteroid toutatis in 2004. (video updated april 18, 2017 to refect new size discovered with arecibo observatory imagery).






wave to asteroid probe osiris-rex on its flyby, and snap a photo for nasa


nasa's osiris-rex spacecraft will make a close flyby of earth before shooting out toward the asteroid bennu, and skywatchers will have the opportunity to wave goodbye to the probe as it passes overhead.  the osiris-rex (origins, spectral interpretation, resource identification, security, regolith explorer) mission launched on sept. 8, 2016, to study and collect a sample from the near-earth asteroid bennu. on sept. 22, the spacecraft will make its closest approach to earth, offering one last opportunity to see and photograph the probe until it returns to earth in 2023.  the sept. 22 flyby will give osiris-rex a momentum boost — called a gravity assist — toward its target destination. to celebrate the spacecraft's close approach, observers can join the "wave to osiris-rex" social media campa






look up and wave! osiris-rex asteroid probe flies by earth today


update for 1:58 pm et: nasa's osiris-rex spacecraft has successfully buzzed earth! read our full story on the gravity assist flyby here. a nasa spacecraft will zoom past earth today (sept. 22) on its way to a distant asteroid, and you can give the probe a proper send-off. the osiris-rex spacecraft will cruise within just 10,500 miles (17,000 kilometers) of earth at 12:52 p.m. edt (1652 gmt) today, using our planet's gravity to slingshot itself toward the 1,640-foot-wide (500 meters) asteroid bennu. nasa is encouraging folks around the world to wave at osiris-rex as it goes by today — and to post photos of themselves doing this on twitter, instagram and facebook using the hashtag #helloosirisrex. (you can tag the mission as well; its handle is @osirisrex.) [osiris-rex: nasa's asteroid sampl






big, shiny asteroid to fly (safely) past earth on april 19


a whopper of an asteroid will make a close approach to earth on april 19. there's no need to panic, though. nasa says it won't collide with our planet. but it will get pretty close for an asteroid of that size.






a freakishly big asteroid is about to zoom by earth


another freakishly big asteroid. image: nasa/jplover the years, asteroids have gotten bad rap, probably because of that terrible michael bay movie or incessant stream of hyperbolic articles written about them. the truth is, asteroids are just hunks of rock hurdling through space that aren’t actively seeking to destroy the human race. later this month, one such non-apocalyptic asteroid will get close enough to earth for our viewing pleasure. even though it won’t do any damage, this is a damn big slice of space trash.advertisementon april 19th, an asteroid known as 2014 jo25 will whiz by our pale blue dot from a comfortable distance—it’ll be roughly 1.1 million miles (1.8 million km) away from us at closest approach. what’s really remarkable is how enormous this thing is; according to nasa,






a freakishly big asteroid is about to zoom by earth


another freakishly big asteroid. image: nasa/jplover the years, asteroids have gotten bad rap, probably because of that terrible michael bay movie or incessant stream of hyperbolic articles written about them. the truth is, asteroids are just hunks of rock hurling through space that aren’t actively seeking to destroy the human race. later this month, one such non-apocalyptic asteroid will get close enough to earth for our viewing pleasure. even though it won’t do any damage, this is a damn big slice of space trash.advertisementon april 19th, an asteroid known as 2014 jo25 will whiz by our pale blue dot from a comfortable distance—it’ll be roughly 1.1 million miles (1.8 million km) away from us at closest approach. what’s really remarkable is how enormous this thing is; according to nasa, t






asteroid's closest pass in 900 years captured by nasa


as a 2,000-foot-wide asteroid makes its closest pass to earth in 900 years, nasa captured high-resolution images of the peanut-shaped rock.the radar images of asteroid 2014 jo25 were made early tuesday using the antenna at the goldstone deep space communications complex, in california’s mojave desert, nasa said in releasing animation generated from the data.the asteroid will fly past earth on wednesday at a distance of about 1.1 million miles, about 4.6 times the distance from earth to the moon. it is the closest pass by the asteroid in 400 years, and it won’t come closer for at least 500 more years.






the asteroid belt may be a 'treasure trove' of planetary building blocks


the asteroid belt may have started out empty, later becoming a "cosmic refugee camp" taking on leftovers of planetary formation from across the solar system, a new study finds. the main asteroid belt, located between the orbits of mars and jupiter, makes up 0.05 percent the mass of earth. the asteroids there can range greatly in mass, with the four largest ones — ceres, vesta, pallas and hygiea — holding more than half the belt's mass. to explain the dramatic range of sizes in the asteroid belt, previous models suggested that the primordial asteroid belt originally possessed a mass equal to at least that of earth, and that its members had less disparity in mass. the gravitational pulls of the planets later helped whittle down this primordial belt, depleting asteroids of certain sizes more






slooh webcast of giant asteroid's earth flyby


slooh.com will host a live webcast on wednesday, april 19, beginning at 7 p.m. edt (2300 gmt) showing live views of asteroid 2014 jo25 on the day of its close pass by earth. the space rock will come to within about 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers) of the planet — about 4.6 times the distance from earth to the moon. the webcast will also feature slooh astronomers and other experts, who will discuss how the asteroid was discovered and how humans could stop a massive asteroid from hitting earth. preview: giant peanut-shaped asteroid to pass harmlessly by earth wednesday  from slooh: "slooh will point its canary islands telescopes to track potentially hazardous asteroid 2014 jo25 as it makes its closest approach to earth. the asteroid, which is estimated at nearly a kilometer in leng






slooh webcast of giant asteroid's earth flyby


slooh.com will host a live webcast on wednesday, april 19, beginning at 7 p.m. edt (2300 gmt) showing live views of asteroid 2014 jo25 on the day of its close pass by earth. the space rock will come to within about 1.1 million miles (1.8 million kilometers) of the planet — about 4.6 times the distance from earth to the moon. the webcast will also feature slooh astronomers and other experts, who will discuss how the asteroid was discovered and how humans could stop a massive asteroid from hitting earth. preview: giant peanut-shaped asteroid to pass harmlessly by earth wednesdayfrom slooh: "slooh will point its canary islands telescopes to track potentially hazardous asteroid 2014 jo25 as it makes its closest approach to earth. the asteroid, which is estimated at nearly a kilometer in length






remember that time an asteroid was streaking toward earth?


brian marsden predicted there was a small chance the asteroid could hit the planet — and in doing so set off global panic






nasa to test asteroid deflection method for ‘planetary defense’


the team will fly a refrigerator-sized spaceship directly into an asteroid to change its trajectory






osiris-rex: nasa's asteroid sample-return mission in pictures


nasa's osiris-rex asteroid mission launched in 2016 to collect samples of the asteroid bennu and return them to earth. see photos from the mission here.






near spacecraft visits asteroid mathilde


welcome to "today in space," where we peer back in our archives to find great moments in spaceflight and astronomy. so enjoy a blast from the past with space.com's hanneke weitering to look back at what happened today in space on june 25, 1997! on june 27, 1997, nasa's near shoemaker spacecraft flew by an asteroid named 253 mathilde. near, which stands for near-earth asteroid rendezvous, launched in 1996 to go orbit another asteroid named 433 eros, and it flew by mathilde along the way. the spacecraft was hibernating in a low-power state for nearly 16 months before the mission's scientists woke it up to look at mathilde. it whizzed by the asteroid going over 22,000 miles per hour and came within 750 miles of its surface. the flyby lasted about 25 minutes, and the spacecraft took hundreds o






massive asteroid will pass by earth today: watch the slooh webcast


an asteroid will make a close flyby of earth today (april 19), and the slooh community observatory will be tracking the space rock's journey live.  during the close approach, the asteroid will be traveling at about 73,000 miles per hour (117,000 kilometers per hour) and will come to within 4.6 times the distance between earth and the moon, or about 1.1 million miles (1.6 million km). slooh.com will host a webcast beginning at 7 p.m. edt (2300 gmt) showing live views of asteroid 2014 jo25 on the day of its close pass by earth. the webcast will also feature slooh astronomers and other experts, who will discuss how the asteroid was discovered and how humans could stop a massive asteroid from hitting earth. you can watch the webcast on the slooh website here. although the webcast begins at 7 p






massive asteroid will pass by earth today: watch the slooh webcast


an asteroid will make a close flyby of earth today (april 19), and the slooh community observatory will be tracking the space rock's journey live.  during the close approach, the asteroid will be traveling at about 73 miles per hour (117 kilometers per hour) and will come to within 4.6 times the distance between earth and the moon, or about 1.1 million miles (1.6 million km). slooh.com will host a webcast beginning at 7 p.m. edt (2300 gmt) showing live views of asteroid 2014 jo25 on the day of its close pass by earth. the webcast will also feature slooh astronomers and other experts, who will discuss how the asteroid was discovered and how humans could stop a massive asteroid from hitting earth. you can watch the webcast on the slooh website here. although the webcast begins at 7 p.m. edt,






weird asteroid split in half and grew glowing dust tails


a recently discovered "asteroid pair" is the youngest such duo known in earth's solar system, and it appears to have sprouted twin comet-like tails, new observations reveal. this asteroid pair, known as p/2016 j1, was discovered in 2016. asteroid pairs are not uncommon in the solar system's main asteroid belt. these duos typically form when a parent asteroid breaks in two pieces following a collision with a foreign body, or when the rocky body experiences an excess rotational speed or destabilization of its initial orbit, scientists have said. the new observations of  were made by researchers using the great telescope of the canary islands (gtc) and the canada-france-hawaii telescope (cfht) on hawaii's mauna kea volcano. the team found "that the asteroid fragmented approximately six years






dangerous asteroid could hit earth at any moment


according to a prominent astrophysics professor from queen’s university in belfast, ireland, an asteroid strike to earth is a matter of time, reported the belfast telegraph wednesday. professor alan fitzsimmons issued this warning because of asteroid day, which is held on june 30 to remember the 1908 tunguska event in siberia. on june 30, 1908, an…






q&a with author carrie nugent


the solar system is much wilder and more chaotic than most people think, and vigilant scientists are all that stand between earth and a catastrophic asteroid impact, according to a new book on the science of asteroid monitoring and tracking. "asteroid hunters" (simon & schuster, 2017), released today (march 14), offers a quick but comprehensive view of what's happening in earth's solar system, and highlights the many eyes on the sky determined to catalog and track every asteroid and near-earth object that could potentially pose a threat. plus, it details the different ways we could turn away an unwanted solar system visitor streaming toward earth. space.com talked with "asteroid hunters" author carrie nugent, a researcher who works with nasa's asteroid-hunting space telescope neowise (wide






the most amazing space stories of the week!


according to a new study, massive wildfires took place after an asteroid hit earth 65 million years ago — the asteroid thought to have killed off the dinosaurs — and the fires caused the sun to be blotted out for two years. small particles created by the impact ignited fires across the globe, and when plants burned, their soot filled the sky and shut down further photosynthesis. [full story: dinosaur-killing asteroid cast a 2-year shroud of darkness over earth]






trojan asteroids beware - nasa’s osiris-rex is on the hunt


during its travels to study asteroid bennu, the nasa mission will be on the lookout for space rocks t ped in earth’s fourth lagrange point. only one asteroid (2010 tk7) that fits the bill as an earth trojan has been found to date. how osiris-rex will p og h asteroid bennu - video






nasa pushes ahead with asteroid deflection tests


nasa the national aeronautics and space administration (nasa) is moving ahead with plans to try out deflection techniques on a passing asteroid to prepare for future, threatening space matter.the us space agency's latest mission, which will demonstrate the asteroid deflection technique, has now been promoted to the design phase. the double asteroid redirection test (dart) program, designed and managed by scientists at the johns hopkins applied physics laboratory, involves the creation of refrigerator-sized spacecraft "capable of deflecting asteroids and preventing them from colliding with earth."moved to the preliminary design phase on june 23, refining dart's "kinetic impactor technique," ways to strike an asteroid in a way which makes it shift orbit rather than cause damage, is the key c






nasa's asteroid sample-return mission in pictures


nasa's osiris-rex asteroid mission launched in 2016 to collect samples of the asteroid bennu and return them to earth. see photos from the mission here. on sept. 22, 2017, osiris-rex will fly by earth in a gravity assist maneuver (shown here in an artist's illustration) to accelerate it on its way to bennu.






we were wrong about how the asteroid apocalypse will go down


image: don davis.here’s a cheery thought to send you into the weekend: new research suggests that the greatest danger posed by an incoming asteroid is not from the cataclysmic impact of it striking the earth—but from the enormous shockwave it produces when it enters the atmosphere. advertisementa study accepted for publication in meteoritics and planetary science (preprint available here) suggests that most deaths from a sufficiently large asteroid will be caused by the airburst produced on atmospheric entry, regardless of whether the asteroid disintegrates in the air or hits the surface. the slightly less terrible news is that the killer shockwave would have to happen near a highly populated urban area to have such an effect. the best news is, large asteroid impacts are very, very rare.a






we were wrong about how the asteroid apocalypse will go down


image: don davis.here’s a cheery thought to send you into the weekend: new research suggests that the greatest danger posed by an incoming asteroid is not from the cataclysmic impact of it striking the earth—but from the enormous shockwave it produces when it enters the atmosphere. advertisementa study accepted for publication in meteoritics and planetary science (preprint available here) suggests that most deaths from a sufficiently large asteroid will be caused by the airburst produced on atmospheric entry, regardless of whether the asteroid disintegrates in the air or hits the surface. the slightly less terrible news is that the killer shockwave would have to happen near a highly populated urban area to have such an effect. the best news is, large asteroid impacts are very, very rare.a