Purdue University has a fun simulator called Impact Earth that shows you what would happen if a particular kind of meteorite smashed down from space. Plug in some info about the meteorite you'd like to simulate--size, composition, angle and speed of impact--and then check out the precise kind of havoc it would wreak. We've written about it before, but it somehow seems more pressing now. Maybe because of this little thing. Try Impact Earth here.
Meteorite chunks that fell in Morocco last summer came from Mars, yielding an unexpected 15-pound sample of the Red Planet, scientists confirmed Tuesday. It’s the first time in 50 years — and only the fifth time ever — that scientists have chemically confirmed that pieces of rock came from Mars.
The rocks were found in December and analyzed by a committee of meteorite experts. The biggest one weighs a little more than 2 pounds.
A thin film of water ice and organic materials coats the space rock named 24 Themis, according to a study released today. That discovery marks the first-ever direct detection of water ice on an asteroid, and adds evidence to theories about how asteroids could have brought water and organic material to a primordial Earth.
A NASA telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea helped scientists gauge the spectrum of infrared sunlight reflected by 24 Themis. Their findings revealed a spectrum consistent with both frozen water and organic material on the 124-mile-wide asteroid, which sits halfway between Mars and Jupiter.
Russia's proposal for an Armageddon-style mission to deflect the space rock Apophis seemed bold, but it's not the only one fretting about a catastrophic impact on Earth. The U.S. National Research Council (NRC) released a new report that calls for an international asteroid defense agency that can organize a proper mission to counter possible asteroid threats, New Scientist reports.
Monoliths may not have transformed Jupiter into a star and made Europa a new Earth, but the late science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke might still be pleased, wherever he is, with NASA's prediction for 2010. Spaceflight Now reports that this year should prove whether fossilized life truly exists in three Martian meteorites, one way or the other.
Leave it to Russia to jumpstart the long-debated idea of deflecting killer asteroids that might threaten Earth. A top Russian space official announced just prior to the New Year that he wants to put together a mission for heading off the space rock Apophis, which represents a poster child of sorts for the risk of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs). But NASA astronomers caution that a failed deflection attempt could simply make matters worse.
Martians may have already landed on Earth, at least in ancient microbial form. The same NASA team that discovered the controversial Allen Hills meteorite has shared new data that points to a biological origin for structures within the Martian rock, Spaceflight Now reports. NASA headquarters plans to officially address the new findings within days.
Life on Earth first came out of the oceans, but the water itself may have originated from extraterrestrial space rocks. A new study points to a turbulent period when the solar system's giant planets hurled chunks of icy rubble in Earth's direction.
This goes against the more favored scientific theory that Earth's oceans and atmosphere formed from elements within the planet interior, around 4.5 billion years ago. The Nature study argues that the primordial temperatures never dropped enough to condense both volatile elements and water alike, and that the waters of our blue planet must have arrived during a later period of planet building, about one hundred million years after Earth was formed.