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Organic compounds found on asteroid and meteorite challenge ideas of where organic molecules formed

Carbon is often referred to as “the bedrock of life” because the element appears in all known life forms. This is because the sixth entry on the periodic table has the unique ability to form the complex molecules needed to form so-called “organic” matter. As such, when scientists search for signs of life beyond Earth, one of the first things they do is search for organic compounds — that is, matter which has carbon and could therefore support life....

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Most dinosaurs were killed by climate change, not a meteorite, new study suggests

Perhaps the most famous thing about the dinosaurs is the giant space rock that seemingly killed them. Also known as the Chicxulub impact, or the K-Pg event, most people are familiar with the major crash roughly 66 million years ago after a comet or asteroid collided with our planet.

It was one of the most violent upheavals in Earth’s entire 4 billion year history....

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NASA asteroid mission unveils a surprise moon orbiting Dinkinesh

The word “Dinkinesh” is Amharic for “marvelous,” and the small main belt asteroid Dinkinesh has lived up to its Ethiopian moniker: When the NASA spacecraft Lucy flew by what it had anticipated would be only one asteroid, it found two asteroids for the price of one.

“Dinkinesh really did live up to its name; this is marvelous,” Hal Levison, principal investigator for Lucy from the Boulder, Colorado, branch of the San-Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute, said in a statement....

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NASA found materials on an asteroid like those that may have “triggered the origin of life” on Earth

When on Tuesday scientists lifted the lid off of OSIRIS-REx — a spacecraft that recently visited Bennu, an asteroid which might collide with Earth in the year 2182 — the researchers found something so overwhelming, they literally “gasped” at the “scientific treasure box” just discovered inside.

Those quotes were taken from a post on X (formerly Twitter) by NASA’s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) division, which is located at NASA’s Johnson Space Center....

Originally posted on salon.com

NASA mission to return from asteroid as big as the Empire State Building that may one day hit Earth

On Sunday, September 24 at approximately 10:42 EST, a NASA mission known as OSIRIS-REx will return to Earth after having collected samples from an asteroid named Bennu. Some experts also predict that 159 years from now, there’s a good chance Bennu could collide with Earth.

Such an event would be extremely unlucky for life on this planet, with potential for catastrophic destruction....

Originally posted on salon.com