domingo, 25 de maio de 2014

Man Finds Iron Meteorites in His Garden

HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. -- Chris Wooden says the Discovery Channel showed him what he had in his front yard wasn't just a rock.

"I didn't know what it was. It was covered up with rust so I just threw it to the side and kept working," said Wooden.

Now he believes that rust rock is actually a meteorite that made it to earth. He says the magnetization and them metal quality told him what it was.

Wooden explained ever since he found that first meteorite in his garden last year, he has kept an eye out. He was shocked to find another 91 pound meteorite in a field, but said he is even more shocked at how much they are worth.

A quick internet search will show meteorites go for about two dollars per gram. The 92 pound one he found could be worth more than $80,000.

He says all the land behind him could be a gold mine.

"You gotta think ain't nobody over here looking for 'em all down through here is nothing but hills, holes, you have to think about it," said Wooden.

Wooden says he does hope to sell the meteorites.


domingo, 18 de maio de 2014

Can NASA Save Us from an Asteroid Ready to Slam into Earth?

We've seen the destruction that even a small meteorite entering the Earth's atmosphere can cause when it impacts our planet, a la the Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia in February 2013, so the implications of a much larger, scarier meteor on a collision course with Earth are even more dire. If a massive space rock were found to be hurtling towards our planet, would NASA or any of the world's space agencies be able to stop it or at least minimize the impact? NASA's ambitious asteroid lassoing mission will give us a good indication of what our capabilities are, or can be, should we find a large space rock headed in our direction.

NASA announced last year that it plans to capture a near-Earth asteroid in a stable lunar orbit that astronauts will then be able to visit for research and exploration. During this mission NASA may be able to test out Earth's defenses against space rocks.

The mission's details are still being worked out, and NASA officials have stated that different methods could be used to deflect asteroids heading to Earth. If the mission grabs a small space rock or large boulder off an asteroid's surface, a planetary defense demonstration would be involved, which would show the first test of an enhanced gravity tractor in space.

This gravity tractor technique would use a robotic probe flying next to a space rock for months, maybe even years, while a small gravitational tug slowly pushes it off its course. If the probe has a larger mass, it will have a greater gravitational pull. Taking a boulder off an asteroid that could damage Earth will help to significantly increase the mass of the deflection mission.

Lindley Johnson, program exective for NASA's Near-Earth Object (NEO) observations program said:

"We'd go into this enhanced gravity tractor position after we retrieve the boulder and demonstrate that we have even more gravity attraction capability by doing that."

Johnson added that nearly a dozen candidates have been found for the mission, with at least six for each option. The best rock to use for the boulder grabbing mission could be Itokawa, a 1,750-foot-long space rock that was visited by Japan's Hayabusa probe in 2005.

The U.S. government has set a 2025 exploration deadline to have astronauts visit the yet-to-be-selected asteroid. In 2010, President Barack Obama told NASA to land on a nearby asteroid by 2025 and on Mars by the mid 2030s.

The mission is currently in a "preformuation" phase, which means that NASA is still looking over ideas and data for the mission. NASA is hoping to have a basic concept for the mission by the end of 2014.


sexta-feira, 16 de maio de 2014

'Mystery flaming object' spotted crashing to Earth in Australia

No debris found after Queensland residents call police over unexplained object the size of 'half a dozen jumbo jets' falling from the sky in flames

Residents of northeastern Australia have reported seeing a flaming object plummeting to Earth, police said on Friday, adding that the incident remains a mystery as no evidence of a crash has been found.

Queensland state police said they received several reports from the northern city of Townsville on Thursday evening about a burning object falling from the sky, possibly hitting the ground near Ross River Dam.

“[It was reported as] something about the size of a small plane travelling at a very high speed with a reddish-green flame coming out of the back or it,” a police spokesman told reporters.

“It was travelling at a very high velocity.”
“[Impact was] like an explosion but without a sound ... like an atomic bomb effect.”

Townsville resident Kim Vega told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) she thinks she saw the moment of impact, describing it as “like an explosion but without a sound”.

It would have been “like an atomic bomb effect” when it crashed, she added, with all the trees and the skies lit up.

Fellow Townsville resident Terry Robinson agreed the unknown object was large, telling the ABC: “This thing hit like a bomb – it was huge.

“I don’t know how big it was, but in the sky it looked like half a dozen jumbo jets falling out of the sky at the same time,” he said.

Police said there were no aircraft unaccounted for, nor had other aircraft reported seeing a bright falling object, leading to speculation it could have been a meteorite or some sort of space junk.

“At this stage there is no confirmation of anything,” the police spokesman said. “Nothing’s been found.”

Owen Bennedick, from Queensland’s privately-run Wappa Falls Observatory, said he thought the object was most likely to be a satellite or part of one falling to Earth and efforts would be made to find it.

He said the object would likely have caused a colossal thumping noise when it hit the ground and, given the full moon on Thursday, would have been seen by a lot of people.

“I think we will find that it will be a piece of a satellite,” he told reporters, adding that because it was viewed over a large area and was travelling slower than a meteorite it was probably a man-made object.

“This thing burned for a long time, a lot of people saw it, and indications are it was a satellite,” he said.