All asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft as of June 2010
The total of four comets and nine asteroid systems (including ten separate bodies) that have been examined up close by spacecraft are shown here to scale with each other (100 meters per pixel, in the fully enlarged version). Most of these were visited only briefly, in flyby missions, so we have only one point of view on each; only Eros and Itokawa were orbited and mapped completely.
Source: The Planetary Society Blog
On 4 July 2005, 5 years ago to the day, a probe released by NASA’s spacecraft Deep Impact smashed into the comet Tempel 1. The spectacular results were photographed remotely by the spacecraft, which is today employed on another mission: EPOXI.
President Obama says his new budget request to increase NASA’s funding by $6 billion over the next five years is an investment in America’s future, and a challenge to the agency to build on its legacy of innovation and discovery.
“What we’re looking for is not just to continue on the same path”, said the President. “We want to leap into the future. We want major breakthroughs, transformative for NASA.”
Making his remarks to an audience of several hundred at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida prior to the start of a one-day “Conference on the American Space Program” for the 21st Century”, President Obama reassured those in attendance about his support for NASA.
“The bottom line is, nobody is more committed to manned spaceflight, the human exploration of space, than I am. But we cant do it the same old way, but in the smart way to get where we want to go.”
The space conference of senior officials, space and industry leaders, academic experts and others focuses the different aspects of the President’s new direction for the agency. President Obama was introduced by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. (Details at: www.nasa.gov)
Tommy Moore from Astronomy Ireland said a space rock collided with the earth’s atmosphere at about 6pm, showering debris over many parts of the country.
Mr Moore said: “A major explosion happened in the sky over Ireland. We think it’s a fireball, that’s a rock from space the earth has slammed into and they burn up as huge shooting stars. This one appears to have lit up the whole country. The phones here in Astronomy Ireland are going crazy.”
It would seem clear that the video at least is not the real deal as it has been on YouTube for over a year now with thecatchy title of “The Real ALIEN DEATH STAR over Iraq UFO or Meteor spiraling towards earth.”
Potential asteroid collision shot by Hubble.
The two outer moons of Jupiter, with the cutaway showing the extent of melting caused by an astroid/comet bombardment. Credit: Amy Barr, SWRI
Earth Not Properly Protected from Asteroids
A report released Friday by the National Academy of Sciences, states that the $4 million spent by the United States to identify all potentially dangerous asteroids near Earth is not enough to do the job mandated by Congress in 2005.
NASA is in dire need of more funding to meet the challenge, and less than $1 million is currently set aside to research ways to counter space rocks that do endanger the Earth — measures like developing the spacecraft and technology to deflect incoming asteroids — the report states.
The United States should also be planning more methods of defending Earth against an asteroid threat in the near-term. Nuclear weapons should be a last resort – but they’re also only useful if the world has years of advance notice of a large, incoming space rock, the report states.
Likewise, decades of notice are required to build and launch spacecraft to push an asteroid clear of Earth or smash it with a forceful, but non-nuclear, projectile, the committee wrote in the report. Organized evacuations and other civil defense efforts would only be useful in the event of smaller objects with limited advance notice, it added.Read full article »