How NASA's Plan to Capture an Asteroid is Crucial to Human Survival

NASA has committed to an operation in which they will grab an asteroid and put it into lunar orbit in the 2020s, using a robotic system to throw a 12-metre-wide rock into a space shopping bag, and then tow it to the Moon. This seemingly useless mission is actually crucial to the survival of humankind. Read More >>

All of the Water on Earth Comes From Space

If there's one thing that makes our home planet special—other than the presence of you and me—it's water. This is The Blue Marble after all. But for something that's so characteristically Earth-y, its origins are positively extra-terrestrial. Read More >>

The Naked Metal Core of a Dead Planet Is Circling the Sun

You know about those plans to visit an asteroid in the next few years? Well, a select group of astronauts would like to sweeten the deal. Why visit a regular asteroid, when there's a planet's solid metal floating up there and it's likely magnetic? Read More >>

Asteroids Come Alive With a Little Help From Infrared

It's easy to assume that, close-up, asteroids could be quite plain—they're just big lumps of rock, after all. But look at them in infrared, and they come alive. Read More >>

Watch a Huge, Newly Discovered Asteroid Almost Graze Earth

This beautiful tracking video shows Asteroid 2013 XY8 buzzing by our planet on Tuesday night. It's estimated to be up to 230 feet across, more than three times the size of the Chelyabinsk asteroid that caused havoc earlier this year. And we only discovered it four days ago. This could have been hairy. Read More >>

United Nations Sets Up Armageddon-Style Asteroid Defense

The UN last week approved an advanced warning and deflection system regarding potentially hazardous NEOs (Near Earth Objects). Included in the plan is an 'International Asteroid Warning Group' to divert dangerous space rocks. We're unsure whether Bruce Willis has yet been contacted. Read More >>

Japan Just Successfully Tested Its Asteroid-Shattering Space Cannon

You have to crawl before you can walk—be you a baby or an asteroid-blasting space cannon. Now, after a successful test-fire here on Earth, Japan's specially made cannon for its Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is ready to take its first, real steps in outer space. Read More >>

monster machines
The Rosetta Spacecraft Is Humanity's First Asteroid Lander

While NASA's asteroid-capturing mission remains grounded from a lack of Congressional funding, a similar and equally ambitious ESA program is nearing fruition. In the coming months, the Rosetta spacecraft and its integrated Philae probe will become the first man-made objects to not only orbit an asteroid but land on it as well. Here's how they'll do it. Read More >>

How NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission Would Work

It's not quite Armageddon, but NASA's revealed a concept video animation detailing how it would find, capture, re-direct, and study a near-Earth asteroid. In the animation by NASA, you can see a crew of astronauts taking off on the Orion spacecraft and using the Moon to swing onto the captured asteroid. Read More >>

NASA Resurrects a Dead Satellite to Hunt Asteroids

For nearly three years, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite was one of our most potent tools in the search for asteroids, discovering 33,500 of them (more than a dozen of which are potential impact threats) before being placed into hibernation in 2011. But with a new-found interest in asteroid mining, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab has decided to fire the old girl back up for another round of space rock spotting. Read More >>

Researchers Discover 12 Asteroids Close Enough for Space Mining

This was on the back of researchers' minds when a team from the University of Strathclyde parsed through the list of 9,000 near-Earth objects to find which ones could be easily blasted into accessible orbit. They found 12 candidates that could be sent this way by changing their velocity by just 500 metres per second. These asteroids, so called "easily retrievable objects," are all about a million kilometres from Earth and existing rocket technology would be enough to provide the thrust. Read More >>

The Orbits of 1,400 Asteroids NASA Claims Could Smash the Earth

In case you didn't have enough to worry about, NASA says there are over 1,400 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) orbiting our sun. If it makes you feel any better, this visualisation of their orbits is kinda pretty. The beauty of impending destruction. Read More >>

giz explains
How to Catch an Asteroid

That pet rock of yours lose a bit of its luster over the years? Not to worry, NASA plans to put one big enough for the whole world to share in orbit around the moon by the start of the next decade. Here's how. Read More >>

NASA's Next Big Mission Will Be to Capture an Asteroid

There have been rumours about NASA's next major project ever since senator Bill Nelson of Florida mentioned some jazz about wrangling an asteroid. Now a White House official has confirmed the plans to NBC, explaining the goal is to get samples within the decade, and then think about Mars. Read More >>

Future Asteroids Could Be Deflected With Nothing But Space-Graffiti

Our planet's recent close call with one asteroid, and direct visit from another has definitely made it seem important to consider how to avoid the pesky things in the future. One solution is to direct the Sun's power into pulverizing lasers, but another option just involves covering incoming rocks with spray paint. Simple as that. Read More >>

monster machines
These Tiny Telescopes Could Save the Earth from a Deep Impact

A 50-foot wide, 10,000-ton meteor that packs triple the force of the nuke dropped on Hiroshima is nothing to scoff at. But in the grand scheme of things, the meteor that hit Chelyabinsk, Russia, last week is a cosmological runt. Space rocks as much as 100 feet across are estimated to strike every hundred years or so and those like the 160-foot diameter Tunguska meteor of 1908 hit maybe once a century. Read More >>


Don't have a Gizmodo UK account?