If a killer asteroid struck the Earth, humanity could be devastated, but a new groundbreaking three-dimensional map of the Milky Way galaxy could help astronomers spot incoming space rocks before they become a threat.
The European Space Agency launched the space-based observatory Gaia in 2013 and now 1,000 days later the probe has transmitted the best star chart ever produced.
It will help astronomers plot the location of distant stars and near-Earth objects that pose a threat to life on our planet.
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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission is waiting to lift of from its Cape Canaveral launch pad aboard an Atlas V rocket on a quest to visit the earthbound asteroid Bennu before it comes near the planet.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch Thursday night if the weather remains good and spend the next two years traveling out into the depths of space.
In 2020 it will rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu, map it and land to take a sample before returning to Earth in 2022.
NASA scientists hope that by studying the sample they will be able to learn more about the origins of the solar system, but they also want make sure the space rock won’t strike the Earth when it returns in the late 22nd century.
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Thousands of mountain sized rocks float through outer space and occasionally some come near to striking the Earth as they fly through our atmosphere in a fiery blaze of glory known as a shooting star.
Astronomers named one these shooting stars after Queen front man Freddie Mercury on what would have been his 70th birthday.
The asteroid is about 2.2 miles across and hangs out near mercury, according to Queen guitarist Brian May who also holds a doctorate degree in astrophysics.
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Instead of planning to build a city on Mars, one SpaceX competitor is building cargo trucks to ferry supplies into orbit above Earth in a new space-based economy employing thousands of people.
The United Launch Alliance is building reusable rockets to ferry cargo into space where the supplies can be traded to companies mining valuable resources from the moon and passing asteroids.
The ULA reusable rocket is different from the one used by SpaceX, however. While SpaceX reuses the first stage of the rocket, ULA plans to reuse the second, the piece that normally carries the cargo to its final destination.
The company pictures a fleet of these space trucks permanently parked in orbit above the Earth.
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A previously undiscovered space rock just narrowly missed hitting the Earth as it zoomed by mere hours after astronomers spotted it for the very first time. Saturday night, a 150-foot-long asteroid dubbed 2016 QA2, was spotted approaching Earth, and Sunday morning, it zoomed harmlessly by our planet at less than one-quarter of the distance to the moon.
Although NASA has been tracking thousands of near Earth asteroids to make sure they don’t strike the planet, they haven’t found them all.
This one was roughly twice the size of the asteroid that exploded over Russia in 2013. The asteroid 2016 QA2 wouldn’t have ended civilization if it had hit, but it would have caused significant damage.
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Three near-Earth asteroid are worrying NASA engineers who are busy constructing a planetary defense system to stop killer asteroids.
NASA plans to land spaceships on asteroids and install robotic systems on the space rocks to turn them into basic spacecraft.
Then, these roboticized asteroids can be flown into other asteroids near the Earth to protect mankind from extinction.
The space agency plans to launch the first spacecraft next year and it will arrive at the asteroid Bennu by 2018; after collecting a sample from the space rock it will return to Earth by 2023.
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A series of comets that usually hang out near Jupiter has scientists worried about a rogue killer asteroid that could potentially wipe out all life on Earth.
Scientists are worried they can’t trace the origin of a recent meteor shower over New Zealand and since NASA can only track 10 percent of the rocks in space doomsday preppers have begun to suspect the worst.
Researchers are now begginning to say that recently discovered Planet Nine, which orbits the sun every 20,000 years, may have been responsible for killing the dinosaurs.
Now, they worry that as the giant returns to the inner solar system it may be driving rogue comets in front of it.
That’s bad news for the Earth.
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