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psyche asteroid

NASA’s Psyche mission hits its stride as construction begins

February 4th, 2021

NASA’s next asteroid mission will attempt to visit the space rock called 16 Psyche. The mission will, of course, include a spacecraft that will travel to the asteroid over the course of several years, eventually arriving in early 2026.  The spacecraft, which is slated to launch in mid-2020, is now officially in its assembly phase, …

NASA’s asteroid probe will be headed home soon with precious cargo on board

January 27th, 2021

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid probe has been orbiting the space rock known as Bennu for many months now. The spacecraft successfully gathered samples from the massive asteroid and will return that material to Earth so scientists can study it. NASA just announced its timeframe for departing from the asteroid. Despite a global pandemic dramatically changing the …

asteroid samples

Japan’s asteroid probe grabbed a ton of material on its second attempt

December 28th, 2020

The asteroid probe Hayabusa2, sent by the Japanese space agency JAXA, made two attempts to collect material from the surface of the space rock Ryugu. As the now-returned samples reveal, the initial attempt gathered fine particles and sandy material, but the second attempt was much more impressive. JAXA describes the second sample as including rocks …

asteroid flyby 2020

How did astronomers miss this asteroid that just almost hit Earth?

November 17th, 2020

A small asteroid made an extremely close pass of Earth recently and wasn’t detected until after it had already passed. The asteroid known as 2020 VT4 flew by Earth at a distance of just 240 miles. It was closer to Earth during its flyby than many manmade satellites and even the International Space Station. Our …

asteroid sample

NASA’s asteroid probe grabbed so much material it was ‘overflowing’

October 30th, 2020

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is going even better than scientists thought, and the asteroid probe collected so much material that its handlers sped up the timeline to ensure they bring as much back to Earth as possible. The sampling arm was literally “overflowing” with material from the asteroid, NASA says. Eventually, the spacecraft will head back …

metal asteroid

This asteroid is worth more than you can possibly fathom

October 27th, 2020

An all-metal asteroid residing in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter called 16 Psych is worth an incredible amount of money. A new study revealed that the asteroid is likely entirely made of iron and nickel. Mining an asteroid isn’t yet possible, but that may change sooner rather than later. We don’t think about …

asteroid sample

NASA grabbed a bunch of space rock material, and that’s awesome

October 26th, 2020

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft successfully touched down on the asteroid called Benny last week, and we now know that it grabbed enough material to consider that operation a success. The sample will now be stowed away for the trip back to Earth. It will be a couple of years before the spacecraft makes it back to …