Comet-like object possibly smashed asteroid?
2010-02-03 0:00

By Irene Klotz | Reuters.com

Astronomers have found a comet-like object they believe was created by the collision of two asteroids, possible siblings of the rogue rock blamed for killing the dinosaurs millions of years ago.


The object, known as P/2010 A2, was circling about 90 million miles (144 million km) from Earth in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter when it was spotted last week by the Hubble Space Telescope.

"The truth is we're still struggling to understand what this means," lead scientist David Jewitt with the University of California at Los Angeles, told Reuters on Tuesday. "It's most likely the result of a recent collision between two asteroids."

If so, he said, "It'd be the first case we've seen of an asteroid smash happening, basically caught in the act."

The object resembles a comet, but its nucleus is severed from its tail, which "has a very strange appearance, the likes of which we've never seen before," Jewitt said.

Studies of the object -- and searches for similar ones -- would improve scientists' understanding of how asteroids break apart, information that may be useful to thwart a future asteroid strike on Earth.

"The thing that we want to understand is how the asteroids smash into each other and destroy each other," Jewett said. "It might help us understand even how to destroy an asteroid and prevent one from hitting us."

Scientists believe a giant comet or asteroid that hit Earth about 65 million years ago was linked to the extinction of the dinosaurs, possibly by throwing up dust or chemical clouds that blocked the sun or by igniting global wildfires.

Calculations show the orbit of P/2010 A2 is related to the group of asteroids, known at the Flora family, that produced that asteroid.

NASA is working to catalog at least 90 percent of the estimated 1,000 objects that approach Earth and are larger across than one kilometer, about two-thirds of a mile. The agency's proposed budget for the year beginning October 1 includes a $16 million annual increase to step up that effort.

Article from: Reuters.com




Related Articles
Thunder and Lightning a rare sight in Iceland - Weather Experimentation Connected with the Norway Aurora Light?
New Aurora Mystery: What is going on in the skies over Norway!?
Mysterious glowing aurora over Saturn confounds scientists
Maitreya steps forward! The Norway Spiral (Star Sign) Heralds "New Age Messiah"
Was Norway’s HAARP Facility EISCAT Responsible for the Norway Spiral?
What was that Blue Light Spiral in Norway?
Mystery as Spiral Blue Light Display Hovers Above Norway [ed. OP Bluebeam?]
What the Hell is Going on Up There?
NASA can't keep up with killer asteroids


Latest News from our Front Page

Your Smartphone Could be Tracking You Every 3 Minutes, Study Says
2015-04-01 2:24
Your apps want to know where you are Smartphone apps regularly collect large amounts of data on users’ locations, sometimes as often as every three minutes, new research suggests. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University conducted a study where they asked 23 people to use their Android smartphones normally, and tracked location data requests from each device with specially designed software, the Wall ...
Facebook accused of tracking all users even if they delete accounts, ask never to be followed
2015-04-01 2:14
A new report claims that Facebook secretly installs tracking cookies on users’ computers, allowing them to follow users around the internet even after they’ve left the website, deleted their account and requested to be no longer followed. Academic researchers said that the report showed that the company was breaking European law with its tracking policies. The law requires that users are ...
'Gay cake' bakery discriminated against client over sexual orientation, court told
2015-04-01 2:37
David Scoffield QC, acting for the bakery, said if Lee’s argument was right, a Muslim printer could not turn down a contract to print leaflets about the prophet Muhammad, an atheist could not turn down an order saying God made the world and a Roman Catholic printer could not decline making leaflets calling for the legalisation of abortion on demand. Judge ...
Gay rights groups criticize Indiana religious liberties law
2015-04-01 0:10
Editor's note: Would it be ok if a court forced a bakery operated by homosexuals, to make a cake for a Christian that says: "Homosexuality is a sin"? What would the reactions be? One way tolerance? Respecting peoples beliefs extends in all directions or in no direction. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a religious liberties bill into law Thursday that has been ...
Daily Show's Trevor Noah under fire for Twitter jokes about Jews and women
2015-04-01 0:01
Trevor Noah – the surprise choice to succeed Jon Stewart as high-profile host of satirical news program The Daily Show – has come under fire for a series of controversial tweets he posted before his appointment. The South African comedian – son of a Swiss-German father and half-Jewish South African mother – was criticised for having made tasteless jokes about Jews ...
More News »