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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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ScienceShot: An Asteroid Smashup
8 October 2010 12:43 pm
Jupiter and Mars aren't the only recent impact victims in our solar system. In two talks today at the Division for Planetary Sciences in Pasadena, California, astronomers report that a small asteroid located in the inner asteroid belt between those two planets took a major hit early last year. Previously rendered only in artists' conceptions, the first asteroid collision known in modern times revealed itself in a tail of debris streaming from what astronomers at first assumed was a comet. But the roughly 120-meter-diameter object—given the comet designator P/2010 A2—showed no signs of emitting the gases that all comets emit when producing tails. Instead of a steady stream of dust, astronomers found boulders near the object with dust moving away from them. Backtracking, they calculated that a single impact by a smaller asteroid could have blasted it all off the asteroid in February or March 2009. No great loss, though; the tail debris adds up to the equivalent of only a 24-meter-diameter ball of rock.
See more ScienceShots.