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Comic for March 19, 2019

Dilbert - March 20, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Hayabusa2 finds that its destination is also a very dark rubble pile

Ars Technica - 50 min 52 sec ago

Enlarge / A sense of the phenomenal resolution at which we can explore the asteroid Ryugu. (credit: JAXA)

Asteroids can tell critical stories about the birth of our Solar System and the processes that produced its planets. In some cases, they are time capsules for the planetesimals that went on to form our planets. In others, they've been through multiple rounds of catastrophic collisions and reformation, providing testimony of the violent processes that built our current Solar System. But figuring out what they tell us has been difficult, because their small size and generally large distance from Earth make them difficult to study using telescopes. And the bits and pieces we have been able to study directly have been altered by the process of plunging from space through the Earth's atmosphere.

All that's on the verge of changing in the near future, as we have not one but two missions that will return samples from asteroids over the next couple of years. In the case of JAXA's Hayabusa2 mission, the first sample retrieval has already taken place, while NASA's OSIRIS-REx arrived at its destination more recently. But since arriving, both probes have been studying the mini-worlds they were sent to, and the first results of those studies are now in.

Today, Nature and Science are releasing a large collection of papers that describe the initial observations of the two asteroids that these missions have targeted. The bodies have turned out to be remarkably similar, as you can see by visiting our Bennu coverage and then comparing it with what we now know about Ryugu, described below.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google reveals gaming platform Stadia

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 45 min ago
The new digital platform will stream games and has its own controller

At Bennu, NASA finds a mysterious, boulder-strewn asteroid

Ars Technica - 1 hour 48 min ago

Enlarge / These images of the asteroid Bennu’s northern hemisphere show it covered with rocks. (credit: NASA)

After traveling more than 2 million kilometers through outer space over the course of 27 months, NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrived at the asteroid Bennu in early December of last year. Since arriving, the spacecraft's five scientific instruments have been surveying the 490-meter wide asteroid to better understand its properties and find a safe landing site from which to gather samples for a return to Earth.

On Tuesday, the first results of these scientific inquiries were published in seven papers that appeared in Nature and a handful of its research journals. The seven papers are collated on this website.

In some respects, Bennu is about what scientists expected—a "rubble pile" of stony meteorites that have aggregated under the influence of microgravity. Scientists were able to determine that the density of the asteroid is about 1,190kg per cubic meter. By way of comparison, a potato has a density of about 700kg per cubic meter, and dry gravel about 1,500kg per cubic meter.

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The SEC calls for new contempt sanctions for Elon Musk

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 3 min ago
US financial regulator has called for sanctions after Mr Musk tweeted without seeking Tesla's approval.

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