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)
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]
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.
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.
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."