We now know the origin of Russia's meteor

The Chelyabinsk meteor may have snuck up on us by surprise, but it didn't take long for a crack team of astronomers from Colombia to figure out where the damned thing came from and the path it took to get here. By sifting through the copious amounts of video footage available, and after performing some clever… » 2/26/13 11:00am 2/26/13 11:00am

Our asteroid belt is unique — and that’s why life may be rare in the…

Our asteroid belt, which is situated between Jupiter and Mars, has traditionally been seen as something of a nuisance. Every once in awhile one of these rocks dislodges itself and heads straight for Earth, what often results in a cataclysmic impact. But ironically, as a new study from the University of Colorado… » 11/02/12 8:35am 11/02/12 8:35am

Flag Designs for Earth & The Solar System in 2020 and Beyond

Redittor thefrek has designed a kick-ass series of flags for the Solar System and its planets. But flags, as we all know, change over time. So he's also created possible revisions for those flags reaching as far as 800 years into the future. » 3/23/12 9:30am 3/23/12 9:30am

Is Vesta a giant asteroid or a protoplanet?

Giant asteroid Vesta is so enormous, many astronomers don't even refer to it as an asteroid, preferring to call the celestial body a "protoplanet." This image, which compares Vesta to eight other asteroids that we've sent spacecraft to investigate, helps illustrate the reason such a distinction exists. » 12/21/11 7:00am 12/21/11 7:00am

Asteroid Lutetia is the first pristine relic of a failed planet

The asteroid belt is full of remnants of the ancient solar system, giant clumps of rock that might have formed a planet under different circumstances. Now we've found the first asteroid that's exactly how it was billions of years ago. » 10/30/11 11:10am 10/30/11 11:10am

The solar system's second tallest mountain is hidden away on the weird…

The tallest peak in the solar system is Olympus Mons of Mars, three times taller than Mount Everest. But it's not as easy to say what the second tallest mountain is...but it might be found in the unlikeliest of places. » 10/05/11 7:40am 10/05/11 7:40am

A wandering Jupiter stunted Mars's growth and reshaped the asteroid belt

Mars is about half Earth's size and only a tenth its mass, which doesn't make sense. By rights, Mars should be as big as Earth and Venus. Now we know why Mars is small...it's because Jupiter is a big bully. » 6/05/11 3:00pm 6/05/11 3:00pm

The strange case of the asteroid planet Vesta

Vesta is the asteroid belt's second largest object, but figuring out what it is has driven astronomers crazy. Is it an asteroid? A planet, perhaps a protoplanet? Whatever the answer, Vesta might just be the solar system's most important object. » 4/26/11 1:00pm 4/26/11 1:00pm

To find intelligent life, look for asteroid belt mining operations

The search for alien intelligence has mostly centered on waiting to hear any interstellar radio signals, but we might now have a way to see aliens as well. We just need to look for mega-engineering projects on alien asteroid belts. » 4/03/11 12:00pm 4/03/11 12:00pm

Asteroid mining will give us all the platinum we'll ever need, and…

The platinum group metals are crucial to electronics, massively expensive, and extremely rare on this planet. But on asteroids? A single one holds billions of pounds of these metals - and that could start the era of private space exploration. » 7/19/10 7:30am 7/19/10 7:30am

Will Asteroid Mining Destroy The Chinese Economy?

Instead of sending people to the Moon, the US space program is sending robots to the Asteroid Belt. When these robots discover metals in the Belt, how will it affect the economy of Earth? » 2/19/10 9:00am 2/19/10 9:00am

Meet 2 Pallas, The Newest Protoplanet In The Asteroid Belt

With a violent history, a watery origin, and a diameter of 256 kilometers, 2 Pallas is one seriously badass asteroid. In fact, new images of it from the Hubble Telescope have led researchers to dub it a protoplanet. » 10/09/09 7:30am 10/09/09 7:30am