Hopping, tumbling and flipping over are not typical maneuvers you would expect from a spacecraft exploring other worlds. Traditional Mars rovers, for example, roll around on wheels, and they can't operate upside-down. But on a small body, such as an asteroid or a comet, the low-gravity conditions and rough surfaces make traditional driving all the more hazardous. Enter Hedgehog: a new concept for a robot that is specifically designed to overcome the challenges of traversing small bodies.(via)
Using data provided by the Lowell Observatory and Minor Planet Center, this fascinating video provides a view of our knowledge of nearby asteroids and how closely their paths intersect with Earth's. The voiceover explains the count of objects, and what the colorations mean. [slyt]
Just in time for Friday Flash Fun: VanAssteroids. Watch out for Sammy!
The International Academy of Astronautics is holding the Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting Earth from Asteroids May 9-12, 2011. in Bucharest, Romania [more inside]
A video plotting the movement of Hilda and Trojan asteroids that are locked in a resonance with the orbit of Jupiter. Best watched in HD. Previously
Asteroid Discovery From 1980 - 2010: an animation of the solar system that highlights asteroids as they are discovered. I would suggest watching it in a high resolution.
On July 17th, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite completed its first survey of the entire sky viewable from Earth. After just seven months in orbit, WISE -- a precursor to the planned James Webb Space Telescope -- has returned more than a million images that provide a close look at celestial objects ranging from distant galaxies to asteroids. The first release of WISE data, covering about 80 percent of the sky, will be delivered to the astronomical community in May of next year, but in the meantime we can see some of the images and animations that NASA has released to date: Galleries (containing just a small selection of images): 1, 2, 3, 4. Videos and Animations: 1, 2 [more inside]
The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla has prepared a scale image of every asteroid and comet ever visited by a spacecraft. [more inside]
The European Space Agency's Rosetta craft has returned stunning images of the asteroid 21 Lutetia, including this one which couples Lutetia with a member of our planetary family. [more inside]
Flash Friday HTML 5 Wednesday! A variant of Asteroids has been unleashed on the web, as proof of the canvas element's abilities within the updated markup language; however, the color palette is opposite of the arcade game's original scheme, hyperdrive and shields are absent, as is audio, since in hypertext, additional lines of code are necessary for anyone to hear you scream. [via]
Star Trek nerd alert: Standard orbit, Mr. Sulu." Captain Kirk barks out NASA announces Dawn, an ion propulsion rocket to two asteroids, Vesta and Ceres.
Not only does Dr. Duncan Steel have a manly name, he's also one of the guys responsible for keeping those pesky asteroids away from Earth.
You are an asteroid that has seen many of your brethren decimated by the evil spaceship in the original Asteroid's game. The loss of your rock-fellows has hurt and scarred you deeply. Your rocky heart has ached for vengenance.
Your time has come.
Your time has come.
Vintage arcade artwork. In free, vector goodness. For collectors restoring a piece of arcade history and enthusiasts who want to create some great art to hang in the den. Who doesn't want a giant Q-Bert on their wall?
Asteroid to graze past Earth this summer...but how close? If you liked 2004 MN4, you're bound to enjoy 2006 BQ6. Very small but real chance it could even hit around the end of July, beginning of August this year. NASA isn't officially tracking it yet, but they are including it in their report of upcoming close approaches, where the minimum possible distance is...zero. The space.com discussion puts everything into perspective, including graphs and charts and such.
Asteroids marathon. Twenty-seven hours of game play and it's only good for fifth place. "In the history of recorded video game world records, no other record is as unique as that on the classic Atari game 'Asteroids' according to the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard. And the reason for that is simple. It is the oldest, unbeaten world record in our database, after more than 22 years of compiling and tracking world records on classic arcade, home console, pinball, hand-held and PC-based titles."
The Charles "Pete" Conrad Astronomy Awards Act, passed by the House today, authorizes NASA to award $3,000 to amateur astronomers who locate asteroids that may possibly crash into the Earth and destroy life as we know it. Good to know that $3,000 is the going rate for saving the planet.
Asteroid orbits Enter the designation or name of any asteroid or comet, and a 3D orbit visualization tool will appear for that object. If Chicken Little had this link he might have calmed down a little. Or not...Find out if your favorite asteroid is about to rock your world.
Large rock named Huya! 3 years after being discovered a large object (?) orbiting the sun has been named.
Our great grandkids are toast! A one kilometre-wide chunk of space rock could strike the Earth in 2880, say astronomers... "This is not something to worry about," said Jon Giorgini, a senior engineer at the American space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory... "That's plenty of time to consider the options - 35 generations, in fact."
Clueless! But wouldn't this have made a big dent in the middle east peace process?
Leonid Meteor Shower - Hot or Not? Was it a once-in-a-lifetime event, as was billed, or did you just find yourself standing out in the cold and looking straight up? I'm on my way outside right now to shiver & stare.
Stop the world, I want to get off: A group of scientists thinks that a "wobble" in the orbits of Earth and Mercury may have attracted an asteroid, and not a stray comet, to hit the Earth and wipe out the dinosaurs.
Lucifer's Hammer... misses. Well, ok, maybe it was only his tack-hammer, but the people in London would have hated it... [scroll down to second story]