NASA Spacecraft Provides Insight into Asteroid Bennu’s Future Orbit In a study released Wednesday, NASA researchers used precision-tracking data from the agency’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft to better understand movements of the potentially hazardous asteroid Bennu through the year 2300, significantly reducing uncertainties related to its future orbit, and improving scientists’ ability to determine the total impact probability and predict orbits of other asteroids. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

NASA Analysis: Earth Is Safe From Asteroid Apophis for 100-Plus Years After its discovery in 2004, asteroid 99942 Apophis had been identified as one of the most hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth. But that impact assessment changed as astronomers tracked Apophis and its orbit became better determined. Now, the results from a new radar observation campaign combined with precise orbit analysis have helped astronomers conclude that there is no risk of Apophis impacting our planet for at least a century. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Asteroid 2001 FO32 Will Safely Pass by Earth March 21 The largest asteroid predicted to pass by our planet in 2021 will be at its closest on March 21, providing astronomers a rare opportunity to get a good look at a rocky relic that formed at the dawn of our solar system. Called 2001 FO32, the near-Earth asteroid will make its closest approach at a distance of about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) – or 5 1/4 times the distance from Earth to the Moon. There is no threat of a collision with our planet now or for centuries to come. NASA CNEOS GoRead More →

Earth May Have Captured a 1960s-Era Rocket Booster Earth has captured a tiny object from its orbit around the Sun and will keep it as a temporary satellite for a few months before it escapes back to a solar orbit. But the object is likely not an asteroid; it’s probably the Centaur upper stage rocket booster that helped lift NASA’s ill-fated Surveyor 2 spacecraft toward the Moon in 1966. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

School Bus-Size Asteroid to Safely Zoom Past Earth A small near-Earth asteroid (or NEA) will briefly visit Earth’s neighborhood on Thursday, Sept. 24, zooming past at a distance of about 13,000 miles (22,000 kilometers) above our planet’s surface. The asteroid will make its close approach below the ring of geostationary satellites orbiting about 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) away from Earth. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Tiny Asteroid Buzzes by Earth – the Closest Flyby on Record Near Earth Asteroids, or NEAs, pass by our home planet all the time. But an SUV-size asteroid set the record this past weekend for coming closer to Earth than any other known NEA: It passed 1,830 miles (2,950 kilometers) above the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday, Aug. 16 at 12:08 a.m. EDT (Saturday, Aug. 15 at 9:08 p.m. PDT). NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Small Asteroid to Safely Fly by Earth A relatively small asteroid, about 4 to 8 meters in diameter, will fly safely past Earth just before 3pm today, Apr. 28 (Eastern U.S. time). NASA is tracking the object, but orbit calculations ruled out any chance that the near-Earth object could pose a threat to our planet. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Asteroid 1998 OR2 to Safely Fly Past Earth This Week A large near-Earth asteroid will safely pass by our planet on Wednesday morning, providing astronomers with an exceptional opportunity to study the 2-kilometer-wide (1.5-mile-wide) object in great detail. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Tiny Object Discovered in Distant Orbit Around the Earth A small object, presumed to be a tiny asteroid, has been discovered in a distant orbit about the Earth, a highly unusual circumstance, since asteroids normally orbit the Sun. The new “mini-moon” has been given the asteroid designation 2020 CD3, but in view of its strange orbit, there is a chance that the object is an old lunar spacecraft or a small discarded rocket stage. Based on its brightness, 2020 CD3 is very small, no more than 1 to 2 meters (3 to 6 feet) in size. The discovery was made on February 15, 2020 byRead More →

Newly Discovered Comet Is Likely Interstellar Visitor A newly discovered comet has excited the astronomical community this week because it appears to have originated from outside the solar system. The object – designated C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) – was discovered on Aug. 30, 2019, by Gennady Borisov at the MARGO observatory in Nauchnij, Crimea. The official confirmation that comet C/2019 Q4 is an interstellar comet has not yet been made, but if it is interstellar, it would be only the second such object detected. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Small Asteroid of Concern will Safely Pass Next Month The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has determined with new analysis by its Sentry impact monitoring system that a small asteroid whose uncertain position was of concern will pass by Earth at a very safe distance in September. The new analysis of the asteroid, called 2006 QV89, was made possible by key telescopic observations made in early July, and then again the weekend of August 10-11, by Dr. Dave Tholen of the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Largest Close Approaching Asteroid in a Century Passes by Earth On the evening of Thursday, July 24, a football-field-sized asteroid passed close to the Earth with very little warning. The asteroid, designated 2019 OK, approached Earth at about 44,000 miles (71,000 kilometers) above the surface, one fifth the distance to the Moon. Other known asteroids have passed by closer, and a few very small asteroids have even impacted our atmosphere just after discovery, but none have been as large: 2019 OK is estimated to be 195-425 feet (60-130 meters) in size. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

NASA Tracked Small Asteroid Before It Broke up in Atmosphere When a lightning detector on a NOAA weather satellite detected something that wasn’t lightning last Saturday, a scientist at the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, did some detective work. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Scientists Planning Now for Asteroid Flyby a Decade Away On April 13, 2029, a speck of light will streak across the sky, getting brighter and faster. At one point it will travel more than the width of the full Moon within a minute and it will get as bright as the stars in the Little Dipper. But it won’t be a satellite or an airplane – it will be a 1,100-foot-wide (340-meter-wide) near-Earth asteroid called 99942 Apophis that will cruise harmlessly by Earth, about 19,000 miles (31,000 kilometers) above the surface. That’s within the distance that some of our spacecraft that orbit Earth. NASA CNEOSRead More →

NASA, FEMA, International Partners Plan Asteroid Impact Exercise While headlines routinely report on “close shaves” and “near-misses” when near-Earth objects (NEOs) such as asteroids or comets pass relatively close to Earth, the real work of preparing for the possibility of a NEO impact with Earth goes on mostly out of the public eye. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Holiday Asteroid Imaged with NASA Radar The December 2018 close approach by the large, near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 has provided astronomers an outstanding opportunity to obtain detailed radar images of the surface and shape of the object and to improve the understanding of its orbit. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

See a Passing Comet This Sunday On Sunday, Dec. 16, the comet known as 46P/Wirtanen will make one of the 10 closest comet flybys of Earth in 70 years, and you may even be able to see it without a telescope. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

Planetary Defense: The Bennu Experiment On Dec. 3, after traveling billions of kilometers from Earth, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft reached its target, Bennu, and kicked off a nearly two-year, up-close investigation of the asteroid. It will inspect nearly every square inch of this ancient clump of rubble left over from the formation of our solar system. Ultimately, the spacecraft will pick up a sample of pebbles and dust from Bennu’s surface and deliver it to Earth in 2023. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →

A Tiny Asteroid Will Pass Very Close to Earth on Saturday A very small asteroid discovered on Nov. 29 is on a path which will bring it very close to Earth on the evening of Dec. 1, but there is no chance that the asteroid could impact our planet. Only about 3 meters (15 feet) in size, the object is predicted to pass so close to Earth that it will be well within the so-called geosynchronous orbit of communications and weather satellites, about 36,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) above the equator. NASA CNEOS Go to SourceRead More →