Questions tagged [asteroid]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
9 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
60 votes
4 answers
7k 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 ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
23 votes
2 answers
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 ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
665 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
21 votes
4 answers
6k 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 ...
mart's user avatar
  • 1,265
14 votes
2 answers
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 ...
Dan Is Fiddling By Firelight's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Everyone's user avatar
  • 13.6k
6 votes
1 answer
623 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 ...
Astroynamicist's user avatar
17 votes
5 answers
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-...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
15 votes
3 answers
841 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
12 votes
7 answers
2k 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 ...
Karthik T's user avatar
  • 221
5 votes
3 answers
945 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?
Thunder's user avatar
  • 119
4 votes
1 answer
501 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
4 answers
320 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
2 votes
1 answer
186 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
53 votes
5 answers
16k 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 ...
TheEnvironmentalist's user avatar
43 votes
2 answers
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?
System Down's user avatar
  • 2,999
22 votes
3 answers
2k 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, ...
Ken Fabian's user avatar
  • 1,042
17 votes
1 answer
17k 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?
klobucar's user avatar
  • 281
14 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
Effector Dhanushanth's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
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, ...
Maximus's user avatar
  • 213
9 votes
3 answers
813 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 ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
495 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 ...
ConanTheGerbil's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
591 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 ...
user4699's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
576 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 ...
Ken Fabian's user avatar
  • 1,042
2 votes
1 answer
164 views

Could a Gravity Tractor be used for mining asteroids?

Recently, I came across the concept of the Gravity Tractor for the first time. And I was intrigued. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_tractor A Gravity Tractor, as I understand it, is a concept ...
Doug's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes
0 answers
182 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
26 votes
4 answers
6k views

If an extinction-level asteroid were to be detected, could we avert it?

If an extinction-level asteroid were to be detected on an impact course with Earth, could we avert it effectively with existing technology and systems, such as course adjustment via nuclear missiles? (...
DJG's user avatar
  • 804
22 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is Mars more at risk than Earth for asteroid collisions?

When looking at topographical pictures of Mars it seems like there are craters far more frequently than here on Earth. This statement, of course, is just pure speculation on my part. However, it makes ...
Magic Octopus Urn's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
6k views

Does the Moon have any captured objects orbiting it?

Does our moon have any captured objects orbiting it that have been discovered, such as asteroids or other debris? If it doesn't, is it possible that it could capture them in the future, given the ...
Ezra Bailey's user avatar
  • 2,890
20 votes
1 answer
790 views

Mining in microgravity: are there sound studies?

I was wondering whether there are any sound studies on mining in microgravity. For example, smelting iron (out of ore) in weightlessness has been described and (in theory) solved. Also, there are ...
s-m-e's user avatar
  • 6,561
16 votes
1 answer
633 views

Would the one million people on Mars be killed by an impact equivalent to an Extinction Level Event on Earth

If there are cities on Mars in the second half of this century with say a million people, they will be living in engineered structures and sustained by agriculture in protected, controlled ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
14 votes
3 answers
684 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
12 votes
2 answers
856 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 ...
Mark777's user avatar
  • 2,145
11 votes
2 answers
295 views

Why are Jupiter's trojans even remotely stable?

The spacecraft Lucy is en route to explore Jupiter's trojan asteroids. Lucy is so named because the trojan asteroids are believed to be fossil remnants from the formation of the solar sytem. ...
Roger Wood's user avatar
  • 3,854
11 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
bluelurker's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can we use something like RADAR to detect asteroids?

I know that detecting asteroids is difficult because many of them we find are the ones that reflect sunlight but can we use something like RADAR to detect others?
Ch.Siva Ram Kishore's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
929 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?
ViennaCodex's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
736 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 ...
Nate Barbettini's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
5k views

How could 99942 Apophis, in 2029, be captured and brought into a low Earth orbit?

I'm currently attempting to plan out a mission where, in 2029, during Apophis's close approach to Earth, a rocket is sent up to intercept Apophis and decelerate it, making it orbit the Earth. At it's ...
An Axolotl's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
524 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 ...
Colin Basnett's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
278 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 ...
akum's user avatar
  • 328
9 votes
1 answer
533 views

How small must an asteroid be to burn entirely in the martian atmosphere?

The Martian atmosphere is thinner and the magnetic field isn't present. I wonder how many asteroids fall and if at least the small ones can burn in the atmosphere before reaching the soil. Thanks in ...
Bea's user avatar
  • 163
9 votes
1 answer
901 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 ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
565 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 149k
8 votes
1 answer
859 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, ...
Chris B. Behrens's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
133 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"...
Magic Octopus Urn's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
780 views

Minimum delta V required to return a piece of metallic asteroid 16 Psyche to Earth?

Suppose somebody sent a rover to Psyche 16 and found massive concentrated deposits of platinum-group metals near the surface, and turned it into a 10 ton sphere of platinum/iridium/osmium/gold alloy ...
Jonathan Ray's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
558 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 ...
Harvey Rael's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
275 views

How much ice is there in the inner asteroid belt?

After asking this question (How long would it take before we use up all the ice in the asteroid belt?)I did some research to find out how much ice there is in the inner asteroid belt (Not the Kuiper ...
The Rocket fan's user avatar