It's been nearly four years since the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 blasted off, heading for a small asteroid that was then known only as 1999 JU3. Back then, we didn't have many details about 1999 JU3--not even a good picture of the object. But JAXA, the Japanese space agency, still planned to visit it with Hayabusa-2, use explosives to blast debris off its surface, scoop up the fresh asteroid dust and return its cargo back to Earth, after depositing a few mini-rovers on the surface of the asteroid, of course. The asteroid needed a better name. Eventually it was reborn as Ryugu, the name of the underwater palace of the Dragon God in Japanese mythology.
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. NASA has discovered something peculiar on the asteroid Bennu -- bits of another asteroid. In a statement posted to its website, the government space agency said parts of the asteroid Vesta were discovered on Bennu, ranging in size from five to 14 feet. They are also significantly different in color when compared to asteroid Bennu.
AFTER a journey of three-and-a-half years, Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is sidling up to its destination, a small asteroid called Ryugu. Its mission: to bring some space dust back to Earth. The approach is tricky, says Elizabeth Tasker of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. To continue reading this premium article, subscribe for unlimited access. Existing subscribers, please log in with your email address to link your account access.
A massive space rock enveloped in fire and hurtling toward Earth at warp speed may be something we've only seen in movies. But asteroids do collide with planets all the time – including our own. Most of what hits Earth is small and burns up in the atmosphere. And once every few million years, a space rock big enough to cause global devastation hits. So what would we do if scientists identified a big one on a collision course with Earth?