Every year, our planet encounters dust from comets and asteroids. These interplanetary dust particles pass through our atmosphere and give rise to shooting stars. Some of them reach the ground in the form of micrometeorites. An international program conducted for nearly 20 has determined that 5,200 tons per year of these micrometeorites reach the ground.
The 15-million-year-old Nördlinger Ries is an asteroid impact crater filled with lake sediments. A research team led by the Göttingen University has now discovered a volcanic ash layer in the crater. In addition, they show that the ground under the crater is sinking in the long-term, which provides important insights about craters on Mars, such as those currently being explored by the NASA Curiosity and Perseverance Rovers. Results were in the Journal of Geophysical Research Planets.
The world's first ground-based observations of the bare nucleus of a comet nearing the end of its active life revealed that the nucleus has a diameter of 800 meters and is covered with large grains of phyllosilicate; on Earth large grains of phyllosilicate are commonly available as talcum powder. This discovery provides clues to piece together the history of how this comet evolved into its current burnt-out state.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission is on the brink of discovering the extent of the mess it made on asteroid Bennu's surface during last fall's sample collection event. On Apr. 7, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will get one last close encounter with Bennu as it performs a final flyover to capture images of the asteroid's surface.
A research team of international space scientists, led by Dr Matthias van Ginneken from the University of Kent's School of Physical Sciences, has found new evidence of a low-altitude meteoritic touchdown event reaching the Antarctic ice sheet 430,000 years ago.
New observations with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT) indicate that the rogue comet 2I/Borisov, which is only the second and most recently detected interstellar visitor to our Solar System, is one of the most pristine ever observed. Astronomers suspect that the comet most likely never passed close to a star, making it an undisturbed relic of the cloud of gas and dust it formed from.
Scientists have discovered a vast, previously unknown reservoir of new aromatic material in a cold, dark molecular cloud by detecting individual polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon molecules in the interstellar medium for the first time, and in doing so are beginning to answer a three-decades-old scientific mystery: how and where are these molecules formed in space? The more than a dozen PAHs may hold clues as to the formation of comets, asteroids, stars, and even planets.
Lightning strikes were just as important as meteorites in creating the perfect conditions for life to emerge on Earth, according to new research. This shows that life could develop on Earth-like planets through the same mechanism at any time if atmospheric conditions are right.
A long-time question in astrophysics appears to finally be answered, thanks to a collection of large, high-tech water tanks on a mountainside in Mexico.
Using the same principles that make polarized sunglasses possible, a team of researchers at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico have developed a technique that will help better defend against asteroids on a collision course with Earth. A new study in The Planetary Science Journal found a better way to interpret radar signals bounced off asteroids' surfaces.