Asteroid to Give Earth a Buzz Cut
An asteroid the size of an aircraft carrier will come closer to Earth this autumn than our own moon does, causing scientists to hold their breath (with excitement, not worry) as it zooms by.
What's the Latest Development?
When the quarter-mile-wide asteroid 2005 YU55 zooms past Earth on November 8 and 9, scientists say there is no chance of a collision—not now or for the next 100 years, according to N.A.S.A. But scientists are expecting our Earthly instruments to get a good look at the passing rock. "While near-Earth objects of this size have flown within a lunar distance in the past, we did not have the foreknowledge and technology to take advantage of the opportunity," said Barbara Wilson a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
What's the Big Idea?
Along with N.A.S.A., President Obama has signaled a manned asteroid landing as a possible future space mission. Discovered in 2005 by the Spacewatch program at the University of Arizona in Tucson, asteroid 2005 YU55 provides a rare opportunity for scientists to look far back into the past of our solar system. "This is a C-type asteroid, and those are thought to be representative of the primordial materials from which our solar system was formed," Wilson said. "This flyby will be an excellent opportunity to test how we study, document and quantify which asteroids would be most appropriate for a future human mission."
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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