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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Asteroid Web Sites With Impact
7 October 1999 6:00 pm
Asteroids wreak global havoc only once every 100,000 years or so--contrary to what tabloid headlines might suggest. But planetary scientists have plenty of reasons to eyeball asteroids: Aside from keeping a vigil for wayward rocks headed our way, they probe cosmic chunks for carbon and water--the raw materials for life--and even for signs of life itself. And things in the asteroid belt keep getting more interesting: In today's Nature, astronomers report the second-ever discovery of a moon orbiting an asteroid (Science, 14 May, p. 1099).
To bone up on asteroids, try the Web site of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab's Near-Earth Object Program, where you can learn about Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs): 192 supersized rocks at last count that come within 7.5 million km of Earth's orbit. The site links to news stories and offers images of asteroids and meteor showers, as well as info on spacecraft sent on asteroid rendezvous. For gritty technical details, experts can visit NEODyS, a database that generates a Web page of observational data on each PHA and its predicted orbit. One that researchers are keeping a particularly close eye on is 1998OX4, which could hit Earth between 2014 and 2046. Don't blow your life savings just yet: The probability is less than one in a million, and, even if it does hit, at 200 meters across, 1998OX4 is not big enough to inflict cataclysmic damage.