Preliminary Scan Suggests This Interstellar Visitor Is Not an Alien Spaceship

On October 19, 2017, astronomers witnessed the first known interstellar asteroid—a bizarre, cigar-shaped rock that, just as quickly as it entered into our Solar System, exited in a hurry. Not satisfied that ‘Oumuamua, as it’s been named, is just an odd asteroid, astronomers from Breakthrough Listen recently tuned their Green Bank telescope into the object to see if it’s an alien spaceship or some kind of probe. The preliminary results are now in and—brace yourself—it’s still a rock. Read More >>

An Asteroid Will Pass Near Earth Next Month But No, You Don’t Have to Worry

Every day it seems another natural disaster could bring about the apocalypse. Volcanoes. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Sometimes that list includes asteroids. But despite exaggerated headlines from the usual suspects, there’s no need to worry about the latest nearby asteroid approach. Read More >>

The First Known Interstellar Asteroid Looks Incredibly Weird 

Scientists know of 750,000 or so asteroids and comets—and all of them are part of this fine solar system. That is, all of them but one. And as new research shows, it’s weird as hell. Read More >>

This Is One of the Strangest Objects Ever Discovered in the Solar System

Is it an asteroid? A comet? Both? Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope are revealing new details about a strange binary asteroid that’s performing double-duty as a comet. It’s the first time scientists have ever seen such a thing. Read More >>

Scientist Say Tardigrades Will Be the Last Animals on Earth

Microscopic tardigrades, also known as “water bears,” are the toughest animals on the planet, capable of withstanding intense radiation, extreme temperatures, and even the vacuum of space. In a fascinating new study, researchers have shown that tardigrades are poised to survive literally anything that nature throws at them—and that of the animals alive today, they’ll be the last ones standing before the Sun annihilates the Earth billions of years from now. Read More >>

How a Massive Asteroid Strike Helped Frogs Inherit the Earth

Frogs have been around for nearly 200 million years, but it wasn’t until a 10-mile-wide asteroid struck our planet, wiping out three-quarters of all life on Earth — including the dinosaurs — that these crafty amphibians were able to make their big evolutionary move, according to new research. Read More >>

NASA is Moving Ahead With an Ambitious Plan to Deflect an Asteroid

A mission to demonstrate an asteroid deflection technique just got a NASA promotion to the design phase. Called DART, the plan would see a refrigerator-sized spacecraft smash into a non-threatening asteroid, causing it to move ever so slightly from its original orbital path. The project is seen as an important first step in developing a planetary shield against incoming asteroids. Read More >>

Bummer: Giant Asteroids Not An Immediate Threat

Every few months, a journalist asks a scientist about the looming threat of Armageddon. That scientist’s quotes are then predictably blown out of proportion and turned into some iteration of “The End Is Nigh.” In light of Asteroid Day, which is today, we’d like to clarify some of the apocalyptic misinformation that’s spreading. As badly as we all want an asteroid to strike us squarely in the face at this point, that probably won’t be happening any time soon. Read More >>

This Backwards-Orbiting Asteroid Has Been Flirting With Death For a Million Years

Most asteroids orbit the Sun in a counterclockwise fashion, but a newly-discovered object nicknamed Bee-Zed goes against the grain, spinning around the Solar System the opposite way. Not only that, it frequently ventures within Jupiter’s orbital space — putting it on a potential collision course with the gas giant and its 6,000 co-orbiting asteroids. Read More >>

An Asteroid Hunter on What We Need to Do to Prevent Armageddon

Humans are rightly terrified by the threat of nuclear war, but there’s also a non-zero chance that a giant rock will come hurling through our atmosphere to ruin every Earthling’s day. When that happened 66 million years ago, it triggered a mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. But we have something the dinosaurs didn’t: scientists who are working hard to account for all of the dangerous asteroids in our solar neighbourhood, and to develop technologies that can move them off a deadly collision course. Read More >>

We Were Wrong About How the Asteroid Apocalypse Will Go Down

Here’s a cheery thought to send you into the weekend: New research suggests that the greatest danger posed by an incoming asteroid is not from the cataclysmic impact of it striking the Earth — but from the enormous shockwave it produces when it enters the atmosphere. Read More >>

How Failed Planets May Have Shaped the Earth

Earth has some battle scars from back in the day. When the solar system was still young and wild, roughly four billion years ago, Earth, its Moon, and Mars were attacked by a series of asteroid assailants. It’s long been assumed that the space rocks involved in the assault — called the Late Heavy Bombardment — are now floating around in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Read More >>

NASA Is Sending a Probe to Explore Jupiter’s Mysterious Trojan Asteroids

In addition to its 67 moons, Jupiter is accompanied by two giant clusters of asteroids that orbit the sun along the same path, and is packed with as many large objects as the Asteroid Belt. Yesterday, NASA announced a new mission to investigate these “trojan” asteroids. Here’s what you need to know about this exciting new project. Read More >>

The Year in Encouraging News

This year sucked, didn’t it?

Here’s What Would Happen If a Giant Asteroid Struck the Ocean

Seventy per cent of Earth’s surface is covered by water, meaning if we were unfortunate enough to be struck by an enormous asteroid, it’d probably make a big splash. A team of data scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory recently decided to model what would happen if an asteroid struck the sea. Despite the apocalyptic subject matter, the results are quite beautiful. Read More >>