Questions tagged [asteroid]

Questions about asteroids, bodies in the solar system smaller then planets which orbit the sun.

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9
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1answer
853 views

Have there been any documented mini-moons since 2006 RH120?

The conference call with Bill Bottke (MP3 plus other documents) about "minimoons" presents an alternative to Asteroid Redirect first got me interested in orbital mechanics. The idea is that there are ...
59
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3answers
6k views

What resources could be gained from asteroid mining that would be worth the effort?

Obviously asteroids are abundant in many of the raw materials we use today, but considering the (presumably) large expense involved in mining from asteroids it may not be worthwhile to mine some ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the largest naturally occurring body that could be hollowed and safely lived in?

Some proposals for living in space envision finding an asteroid that is a solid chunk of something (i.e. Nickel Iron), hollow it out, slap on an air lock, and you have a home. Add a drive and you ...
6
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1answer
608 views

Timing shadows from the Kuiper belt! Any news? Did it work?

update 24-Jun-2017: SOFIA Arrives in New Zealand to Observe Southern Skies There are plans to fly SOFIA through another predicted occultation path on July 17. SOFIA is a huge (2.5 meter dia.) infrared ...
21
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4answers
5k views

What's the (particle) density of the asteroid belt?

Obviously the asteroid belt is pretty sparsly populated. But how sparsly exactly? What is the state of knowledge regarding how many particles are there in a given size bracket and a volume, what ...
13
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1answer
4k views

How frequently do asteroids collide with each other?

Space is empty ... lots of empty. Apparently so empty that the risk of collision between a spacecraft of our times, and an asteroid in the asteroid belt is said to be infinitesimal. Running a search ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Does the Dawn spacecraft have the potential for an extended mission?

The Dawn spacecraft is scheduled to arrive in initial orbit around Ceres in February 2015 with a final planned orbital change in December to reduce its orbit to a 700km altitude. At present I can't ...
12
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7answers
1k views

Is it (or why is it) worse to break up a asteroid on a collision course with Earth?

It is quite common to find (pseudo?) scientific statements to the effect that blowing up asteroids which are heading our way is a very bad idea, and that the movie Armageddon got this point totally ...
5
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3answers
799 views

Does the Earth have any Trojan asteroids?

Are there any known Trojan objects residing in the Sun-Earth L4 (SEL4) and L5 (SEL5) Lagrange points, also named "Greek" and "Trojan" groups, respectively?
2
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4answers
203 views

Examples of gamma ray or X-ray imaging of small planets, moons, or asteroids, or at least how to calculate intensity thereof?

Have any spatially resolved measurements of gamma rays or X-rays from medium and small solar system bodies been collected from space? These might be planets, moons, or asteroids for example, but ...
16
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5answers
3k views

How hard is it to fly through the tail of a comet? Has it been done?

The line between comets and asteroids is somewhat blurred (see below) but when we see a big bright tail we at least like to call it a comet. This question is about exploration of the tails of big-tail-...
2
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1answer
105 views

Could ejecta from asteroid Bennu enter into temporary orbit around it? If so, how?

The New York Times article The Asteroid Was Shooting Rocks Into Space. ‘Were We Safe in Orbit?’ mentions concerns about material ejected from the Bennu entering temporary orbit around the asteroid ...
43
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2answers
4k views

Legality of asteroid mining

Exploiting the moon's resources is covered by "The Moon Treaty". Is there something similar or in the works for regulating mining asteroids and other non-lunar bodies?
18
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1answer
16k views

How do spacecraft navigate through the Asteroid belt to avoid collision?

Have any spacecraft been lost transitioning between Mars and Jupiter? How do spacecraft navigate that field unscathed as well?
52
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5answers
15k views

Does NASA have an end-of-the-world policy?

If an asteroid were detected, shooting towards earth with enough speed and certainty that it would all but guarantee a sequel of the end of the dinosaurs. Observatories and space agencies would almost ...
11
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2answers
2k views

How to get processed asteroid metals back to Earth in a safe manner

How would you get precious metals (like platinum, lithium, uranium, etc) from an asteroid safely back to Earth? First, assume we don't need the metals in space for in-space manufacturing. Second, ...
14
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3answers
763 views

Why paint only one-half of Bennu?

The Gizmodo article Instead of Nuking an Asteroid Headed Toward Earth, We Could Just Splash It With Paint says: “Even just painting the surface a different color on one half would change the ...
21
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3answers
1k views

Can we expect to find pure iron or only nickel-iron alloys in asteroids?

Relatively pure iron has more uses and potential value than nickel-iron alloys. Separating those nickel-iron alloys commonly found in meteorites and expected to be common in asteroids (Kamecite, ...
14
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3answers
988 views

How useful is placing an asteroid in Lunar orbit?

Quoting from NASA warned plan to send humans to Mars may fail news article: The Obama administration is opposed to another moon landing, saying such a mission would be too costly. It wants ...
8
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3answers
719 views

Why does NASA plan to put a meteoroid in Lunar orbit instead of Earth orbit?

NASA is working on an asteroid retrieval mission. A small asteroid will be moved into Lunar orbit where it will be visited by space walking astronauts. Since it will be only max seven meters in ...
5
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1answer
447 views

Understanding gravitational keyhole analysis for Near-Earth Objects

I've been studying the resonant return and gravitational keyhole analysis for NEOs and using the extension of Öpik's theory of close encounters (aka Öpik-Valsecchi theory, Valsecchi et al., Astron ...
2
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0answers
167 views

Separating fact from fiction, how to get from this radar image to this GIF?

The NBC News article Mile-wide asteroid and its tiny moon to zoom past Earth this weekend; Dubbed 1999 KW4, the "binary" space rock will skim past our planet harmlessly at a distance of 3 million ...
8
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3answers
526 views

Can one put a large nickel-iron asteroid into an elliptical solar orbit that results in a soft(ish) earth landing?

My daughter and I are debating whether it is technically feasible to bring a nickel iron asteroid to the surface or the earth non-destructively. I felt it was impossible. Her thought was that with a ...
7
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1answer
336 views

If Oumuamua was alien space-junk, what would it look like, and would we be able tell?

I'm interested in our recent interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua. Whilst I'm happy to accept the official explanation of what it is, I'm curious about what state it would be in if it was actually alien ...
12
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2answers
703 views

Which are the main challenges for sample return mission from an asteroid and a comet?

The first sample return mission from a comet has been achieved by NASA's Stardust spacecraft, and the first sample return mission from an asteroid has been achieved by JAXA's Hayabusa spacecraft. What ...
3
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1answer
253 views

What does this paper say is wrong (quantitatively and procedurally) with WISE & NeoWISE asteroid data?

I don't have daily access to the journal Icarus so when I read the New York Times article Asteroids and Adversaries: Challenging What NASA Knows About Space Rocks; Two years ago, NASA dismissed and ...
10
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3answers
668 views

Could we deal with an asteroid threat given current technology?

If we discovered a sizeable (Tunguska-like mass or larger) near-earth object tomorrow that was on a definite collision course with Earth in the near future, could we deal with it with our current ...
10
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1answer
286 views

Do all dangerous asteroids first pass through keyholes?

Scitech Daily's MIT Engineers Devise the Best Way to Deflect an Incoming Planet-Killer Asteroid Now MIT researchers have devised a framework for deciding which type of mission would be most ...
9
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2answers
254 views

Could a swarm of probes autonomously establish orbit around an asteroid?

To position a spacecraft around an asteroid, one must know the orbital parameters and orientation of the asteroid and the spacecraft. Formation flying will be more complex in terms of positioning ...
10
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2answers
3k views

What is the possibility of Voyager 1/2 colliding with matter (Asteroids or planetoids) present in space?

It gives me great pleasure to hear about the feat that Voyager 1 achieved. I was wondering if Voyager 1/2 could collide with Asteroids (those,if present, outside our solar system) or any other matter ...
9
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1answer
756 views

Where could you go in a 20km iron asteroid?

We know from this question that an asteroid 20 km in diameter is feasible as a hollow space habitat. There are many variables in real life, but assuming you had a spherical solid iron asteroid 20 km ...
7
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1answer
236 views

What is synthetic tracking, and why would a 35 cm Earth imager be 10-30x better than Pan-STARRS or LSST for interstellar asteroid discovery?

The ArXiv preprint Technical Note: Asteroid Detection Demonstration from SkySat-3 B612 Data using Synthetic Tracking is an interesting read! The abstract says: We report results from analyzing the ...
6
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1answer
473 views

What Platinum minerals are expected to be found in Asteroids?

High quantities and values have been claimed for the Platinum and other high value metals in Asteroids - prompting (or perhaps in order to prompt) interest in mining them. Is this high value metal ...
4
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1answer
358 views

How will they mine asteroids?

Say we find an asteroid that is rich in ores and we would like to mine that asteroid. How could this be done? The gravity on an asteroid is so minimal that pushing a drill into the asteroid would ...
3
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0answers
80 views

Atmospheric entry of asteroid mining products

This is a more general question than How to get processed asteroid metals back to Earth in a safe manner That question was actually a quick check to see if a particular idea was plausible. Instead, ...
2
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1answer
89 views

Are the estimated chances of Bennu hitting Earth in the next 200 years still about “1 in 1410” now that OSIRIS REx has scanned it?

This 2016 answer to Does Bennu pose a risk to Earth? And how can OSIRIS-REx's mission save us? says: Does Bennu pose a risk to Earth?: recent calculations produced a cumulative probability of 1 in ...
10
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1answer
867 views

Why is the Deep Space Industries Prospector 1 using water propellant instead of hydrazine?

A lot of satellites use hydrazine propellant but the Prospector 1 is using water. What are the benefits and drawbacks of that decision?
9
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1answer
474 views

How do we define geographical coordinates on non-spheroid celestial bodies?

On Earth, we can use latitude and longitude to fairly accurately describe a single point on the surface of the earth. This works because the earth is, for all intents and purposes, a sphere. It got me ...
7
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1answer
653 views

What precisely was the character of the non-gravitational acceleration of Oumuamua?

When exactly did Oumuamua accelerate, when did it begin, when did it end, was it uniform across that period, and at what vector did it occur? I've seen some vague references to it lasting 100 days, ...
6
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1answer
79 views

Psyche 16 - What will be learned in 2026?

I've been looking into a lot of the Discovery series missions, and came across the fact that 2 future missions are proposed, one for Jupiter Trojans, another for visiting an asteroid named "Psyche 16"...
4
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1answer
355 views

Clohessy - Wiltshire equations for use in Asteroid “chasing”

So I'm actually a student studying this sorta thing, and an assignment I have is to chase/rendezvous with an asteroid. I've done my reading on the C-W equations (what little I could understand) and ...
4
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1answer
278 views

Is delay-doppler radar imaging of NEO asteroids possible only if it spins fast enough?

Emily Lakdawalla's blog on the Planetary Society's page explains some of the basic principles in the delay-doppler radar imaging of asteroids, and other astronomical bodies by extension. Radar from a ...
3
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1answer
149 views

Why is NASA redirecting an asteroid to Lunar Orbit instead of LEO? [duplicate]

One of the missions NASA is planning is to redirect a small asteroid to lunar orbit and land astronauts on it. If it can redirect asteroids, why not just send it to LEO and send a Dragon to it?
3
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1answer
103 views

Horizons ephemeris - how did they calculate that “Keplerian GM” value?

I’ve been playing with the NAIF’s SPICE library for some time (CSPICE in particular). In order to obtain the state vector of an asteroid from its osculating elements, I’m calling the “conics_c” ...
3
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2answers
604 views

Calculation of coordinates from JPL Small-body database parameters?

I would like to write a script that can calculate the distance between two asteroids at some moment in time, given some object in the JPL database of asteroids and comets, so available parameters are ...
2
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1answer
127 views

What's up with Brazil's ASTER mission? Is it still scheduled to launch in June 2020?

This answer says: Brazil is currently planning its first deep space mission to the triple asteroid 2001 SN263. The mission, named ASTER, has a launch opportunity in June 2020. and links to ...
2
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2answers
175 views

Does Bennu pose a risk to Earth? And how can OSIRIS-REx's mission save us?

OSIRIS-REx has launched and is on its way to 101955 Bennu to... "determine Bennu's physical and chemical properties, which will be critical to know in the event of an impact mitigation mission". ...
1
vote
1answer
170 views

Could asteroid 2012 XE$_1$$_3$$_3$ become a moon of Venus with the aid of rocket engines?

2012 XE$_1$$_3$$_3$ is an asteroid, classified as near-Earth object of the Aten group that is a temporary co-orbital of Venus. It is following a transitional path between Venus's Lagrangian points L$...
0
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1answer
302 views

Yikes! How did we miss 2017 VL2?

The Tech Times article NASA Fails To Spot Whale-Sized Asteroid That Skimmed Past Earth says that Asteroid 2017 VL2 passed the Earth within about 120,000 km, or about 1/3 the distance of the Moon on ...