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]
The International Academy of Astronautics is holding the Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting Earth from Asteroids May 9-12, 2011. in Bucharest, Romania [more inside]
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]
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.
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 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.
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.
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]