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Welcome to Asteroid War Games, Where Scientists Practice Saving Earth

There’s a 1200-foot asteroid headed straight for the Earth. You’ve got five days to come up with a plan, or go the way of the dinosaurs. This isn’t the script for the Day After Tomorrow sequel — it’s the scenario being war-gamed by a roomful of PhDs as we speak. » 4/17/15 12:00am 4/17/15 12:00am

Philae's Discovery Of Organic Molecules Is Actually Not A Big Deal

Prior to going into hibernation mode, the Philae lander hurriedly conducted a number of experiments and sent its findings back to Earth. Preliminary analysis shows that the icy and dust-covered comet contains organic molecules. It's a cool discovery, no doubt, but one that shouldn't be exaggerated in terms of its… » 11/19/14 9:40am 11/19/14 9:40am

Congressional Hearing Slams Feasibility Of Commercial Asteroid Mining

Two congressmen recently introduced the ASTEROIDS Act, which would grant property rights to companies seeking to mine the asteroid belt. Yesterday, the House Space Subcommittee held a hearing on the bill, where expert testimony bluntly told Congress the private sector is not up to the task of mining in space. » 9/11/14 9:40am 9/11/14 9:40am

Can Congress Grant Private Companies The Right To Mine Asteroids?

U.S. companies are eyeing asteroids as the next frontier in lucrative mining ventures. But, they say, their plans are stymied by the vague status of private ownership in space. Earlier this summer, members of Congress introduced a bill to protect property rights for commercial exploitation of asteroids. Is that legal? » 8/14/14 12:00pm 8/14/14 12:00pm

The Tortured History Of Earth's First 500 Million Years

New research suggests the Earth was pummelled by four gigantic asteroids measuring at least 600 miles across in its early days — impacts that would have rebooted the surface, boiled off the oceans, and extinguished any fledgling life. Here's what we now know about the Late Bombardment Era and its affect on our… » 7/31/14 1:15pm 7/31/14 1:15pm

How Brazil Nuts Solved A Mystery About Asteroids

When Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft photographed the asteroid Itokawa in 2005, scientists were puzzled by what they saw: The total volume of boulders strewn about its surface were greater than the volume of the craters they were supposed to have come from. Now physicists have an answer... by studying the movement of nuts. » 7/16/14 7:20am 7/16/14 7:20am