Japanese scientists, including those from Osaka University, closely examined particles collected from the asteroid Itokawa by the spacecraft Hayabusa, finding that the parent body of Itokawa was formed about 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born and that it was destroyed by a collision with another asteroid about 1.5 billion years ago.
OSIRIS-REx caught its first glimpse of asteroid Bennu last week and began the final approach toward its target.
Scientists discovered silica mineral quartz in a primitive meteorite, becoming the first in the world to present direct evidence of silica condensation within the solar protoplanetary disk. They also found ultrarefractory scandium- and zirconium-bearing minerals in the meteorite, which implies that the minerals condensed from nebular gas over a wide temperature range.
The meteor explosion was also captured by infrasonic microphones and seismometers, offering a rare chance to compare these data with satellite and ground camera images. In a report in Seismological Research Letters, a team of scientists led by Michael Hedlin of Scripps Institution of Oceanography use these data to pinpoint the time, location and height of the bolide disintegration, and to calculate an approximate yield for the explosion.
Astronomers have identified some of the earliest galaxies in the universe. The team from the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has found evidence that the faintest satellite galaxies orbiting our own Milky Way galaxy are amongst the very first galaxies that formed in our universe.
The detection of 'mini-moons' -- small asteroids temporarily captured in orbit around Earth -- will vastly improve our scientific understanding of asteroids and the Earth-moon system. Small and fast-moving, they have evaded detection by existing technology, with only one confirmed mini-moon discovery to date. The advent of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope could verify their existence and track their paths around our planet, presenting exciting scientific and commercial opportunities.
Before NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) started science operations on July 25, 2018, the planet hunter sent back a stunning sequence of serendipitous images showing the motion of a comet.
The origin of organic matter found in meteorites that formed during the birth of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago may provide key clues to understanding the birth of life here on Earth. It could also help astronomers investigate the potential habitability of other solar systems. That's according to a new study led by the University of Manchester.
Scientists believe the solar system was formed some 4.6 billion years ago when a cloud of gas and dust collapsed under gravity possibly triggered by a cataclysmic explosion from a nearby massive star or supernova. As this cloud collapsed, it formed a spinning disk with the sun in the center. Since then scientists have been able to establish the formation of the solar system piece by piece.
While the moon is uninhabitable today, there could have been life on its surface in the distant past. In fact, there may have been two early windows of habitability for Earth's moon.