How NASA’s Lunar Orbiter was Struck by a Meteoroid and Survived to Tell the Tale

On October 13, 2014, something rather…striking…happened to one of the cameras aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been imaging the Moon from lunar orbit since 2008. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC), which normally produces beautifully clear images of the lunar surface, produced an image that was wild and jittery. From the sudden…

Scientists Squeeze Methane Out Of Martian Meteorites

One of the biggest clues to finding evidence of life on Mars – past or present – has been the existence of methane, an organic compound that is the principal component of natural gas here on Earth. Methane can arise via both biological and non-biological processes, but in both cases it can be used as…

Curiosity Claims the Biggest Meteorite Ever Found on Mars

If you’re a heavy metal fan then you’ll love this: this shiny, lumpy rock spotted by NASA’s Curiosity rover is made mostly of iron — and came from outer space! Dubbed “Lebanon” it’s a stony iron meteorite, similar to ones found in years past by the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, but is considerably larger than any of…

Interview With the Meteorite Man

Have you ever seen a meteor streak across the night sky? How about a very bright fireball (aka bolide), one that seemed to disintegrate in front of your eyes or leave a trail of vapor that hung in the air for a few moments? These “shooting stars” are actually tiny bits of rock and dust…

15-Meter Meteor Explodes Over Russia

Holy Tunguska flashback*! Early this morning a meteor entered the atmosphere above the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, disintegrating at altitude of 50-60 km (18-32 miles) 14-20 km (12-15 miles) and creating an explosion and shockwave that shattered glass and blew in doors across the area, injuring hundreds. The space rock is estimated to have weighed…

A Close Pass!

2011 MD, a newly-discovered asteroid estimated to be between 9 and 45 meters (30 – 150 feet) wide, will pass by Earth at a distance of about 17,700 km (11,000 miles) on Monday, June 27. That’s 23 times closer than the Moon! The asteroid was discovered on June 22, 2011 by MIT’s Lincoln Near Earth…

Fire in the Sky

New video…lots more angles: Just after 10pm last night a huge meteor lit up the skies over Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and several other midwestern states, inciting calls into local police and news stations from thousands of witnesses. The video above shows footage from various locations and cities…some really incredible stuff! It’s incredible how bright it…

Seeking Shelter

The exploration rover Opportunity has identified what seems to be another ferrous extraplanetary visitor resting on the sands of Meridiani Plains. The 19-inch-long meteorite, shown here, has been dubbed “Shelter Island” by the MER team. Opportunity’s tire tracks are visible in the upper left. Opportunity spent six weeks in September and October investigating “Block Island”,…

Around the Block

“Block Island”, the recently-discovered meteorite resting on the Martian sand dunes, is shown here in a false-color raw image by the Opportunity rover. Measuring nearly 2 feet across, it is the largest meteorite found so far by the Mars Exploration Rovers. Its metallic surface, pocked and pitted by erosion and its collision course through the…