Comet-like object possibly smashed asteroid?
2010 02 03

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

Slaves of Charleston - Beyond Wealth of Jewish South Carolina
2014 09 15
Founded in 1749 in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the Beth Elohim Synagogue is one of the very earliest synagogues in America. While other synagogues and congregations are also now a part of Charleston city life, Beth Elohim Synagogue is the oldest one in the area and serves as the repository for certain historical artifacts of Jewish life in the city. ...
Martian meteorite yields more evidence of the possibility of life on Mars
2014 09 15
A tiny fragment of Martian meteorite 1.3 billion years old is helping to make the case for the possibility of life on Mars, say scientists. The finding of a ‘cell-like’ structure, which investigators now know once held water, came about as a result of collaboration between scientists in the UK and Greece. Their findings are published in the latest edition ...
Swedish Surprise: Anti-Immigration Party Surges...
2014 09 15
Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt Sunday’s election in Sweden was supposed to be a cakewalk for the Left. The Drudge Report ran a piece yesterday from the Guardian entitled: “Free-market era in Sweden swept away as feminists and greens plot new path.” The paper, a left-wing British outlet, published the piece the day before the election; it proved to be, well, ...
UK School to fingerprint students to ‘monitor their diets’
2014 09 15
STOURBRIDGE, England – A school is implementing a biometric system to better track what students are eating each day. The Express & Star reports students at Redhill School in Stourbridge, England will be fingerprinted in an attempt to reduce lunch lines and “monitor pupils’ diets.” The system requires pupils to press a finger against a machine which converts the print into ...
U.S. State Department Orders 160,000 Ebola Hazmat Suits
2014 09 15
The U.S. State Department has ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits for Ebola, prompting concerns that the federal government is anticipating the rapid spread of a virus that has already claimed an unprecedented number of lives. In a press release posted by Market Watch, Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer of industrial protective clothing for first responders, announced that it had signaled its intention “to ...
More News »