mrt 262013
 
The Moon and Vesta Share the Same Cosmic History

  The asteroid Vesta, and perhaps other large asteroids, have more in common with Earth’s Moon than previously thought, according to a team of researchers from the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI). Both Vesta and the Moon appear to have been bombarded by the same population of high-speed projectiles four billion years ago. Scientists have [continue reading]

jan 222013
 
Evidence for Asteroid Belt Around the Star Vega

  Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a large asteroid belt around the star Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies. The scientists used data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, in which NASA plays an important role. This artist’s concept illustrates an asteroid belt [continue reading]

nov 022012
 
Asteroid Belts at the Right Place Needed for Complex Life?

  Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be rare if they are dependent on the presence of asteroid belts of just the right mass, according to a study by Rebecca Martin, a NASA Sagan Fellow from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and astronomer Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.  [continue reading]

sep 212012
 
Dawn Sees Hydrated Minerals on Asteroid Vesta (with Video)

  Volatiles, or easily evaporated materials, have colored Vesta’s surface in a broad swath around its equator. This has been reported in two new papers based on observations from the low-altitude mapping orbit of the Dawn mission.  Asteroid Vesta. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA Pothole-like features mark some of the asteroid’s surface where the volatiles, likely water, released [continue reading]

aug 312012
 
Dawn Prepares for Trek Toward Dwarf Planet Ceres

  NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is on track to become the first probe to orbit and study two distant Solar System destinations, to help scientists answer questions about the formation of our Solar System. The spacecraft is scheduled to leave the giant asteroid Vesta on Sept. 4 PDT (Sept. 5 EDT) to start its two-and-a-half-year journey [continue reading]

jul 132012
 
The Source of Earth’s Water is... Solar System Ice

  Scientists have long believed that comets and, or a type of very primitive meteorite called carbonaceous chondrites were the sources of early Earth’s volatile elements—which include hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon—and possibly organic material, too. Understanding where these volatiles came from is crucial for determining the origins of both water and life on the planet. [continue reading]