Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















IRON AND ICE
Wrong-way asteroid plays 'chicken' with Jupiter
by Staff Writers
London, Canada (SPX) Mar 31, 2017


The asteroid Bee-Zed is the only one in this solar system that's known both to have an opposite, retrograde orbit around the sun while at the same time sharing a planet's orbital space. Watch an animation on asteroid 2015 BZ509's orbit here.

For at least a million years, an asteroid orbiting the "wrong" way around the sun has been playing a cosmic game of chicken with giant Jupiter and with about 6,000 other asteroids sharing the giant planet's space, says a report published in the latest issue of Nature.

The asteroid, nicknamed Bee-Zed, is the only one in this solar system that's known both to have an opposite, retrograde orbit around the sun while at the same time sharing a planet's orbital space, says researcher and co-author Paul Wiegert of Western's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

All but 82 of the million or so known asteroids in our solar system travel around the sun in what's called a prograde motion: that is, counter-clockwise when visualized from above. But asteroid 2015 BZ509 ("Bee-Zed" for short) circles clockwise, in a retrograde motion - moving against the flow of all other asteroids in the giant planet's orbital entourage.

Put another way, it's as if Jupiter is a monster truck on a track circling the sun, and the asteroids in Jupiter's orbit are sub-compact cars all whizzing along in the same direction. Bee-Zed is the rogue - driving around the track in the wrong direction - steering between the 6,000 other cars and swerving around the monster truck. And it does so every single lap, and has done so for thousands of laps for a million years or more.

So how does it avoid colliding with Jupiter? Jupiter's gravity actually deflects the asteroid's path at each pass so as to allow both to continue safely on their way, Wiegert says.

Little is known about the asteroid, which was discovered in January, 2015. It has a diameter of about three kilometers and it may have originated from the same place as Halley's comet, which also has a retrograde orbit. The team hasn't been able to determine yet if Bee-Zed is an icy comet or a rocky asteroid.

But their analysis - based on complex calculations and on observations through the Large Binocular Camera on the Large Binocular Telescope in Mt. Graham, Arizona, during a span of 300 days - show Bee-Zed is somehow able to maintain a stable orbit even as an outlier.

The calculations conducted by the team show the orbit has been stable for at least a million years and will be stable for at least a million more. Learning more about the asteroid provides another intriguing glimpse into previously unknown and unmapped features of our solar system. "The detective work has just begun," he said.

Co-researchers with Wiegert are Martin Connors of Athabaska University Observatories in Alberta, University of Calgary's Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research at the University of Nagoya, Japan; and Christian Veillet of the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. Their work was supported in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC). The research paper is available here.

IRON AND ICE
ExoTerra to become first privately owned space company to fly to an asteroid
Littleton CO (SPX) Mar 29, 2017
NASA has awarded ExoTerra Corporation a $2.5M contract to demonstrate a novel solar electric propulsion system for CubeSats that will enable the shoebox-sized spacecraft to triple their available power and produce over 2.5 km/s of propulsion. Under the "Utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Tipping Point Technologies" award, ExoTerra will use the mission-enabling capability to f ... read more

Related Links
University of Western Ontario
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

IRON AND ICE
United Launch Alliance Completes Crew Emergency Egress System

Spacewalkers Connect Adapter for Commercial Crew Vehicles

Robot Fedor to Guide Russia's Federation Spacecraft in Maiden Flight - Roscosmos

CRESST Signs $87M Cooperative Agreement with NASA Goddard

IRON AND ICE
SpaceX hails 'revolution' after recycled rocket launch, landing

Kremlin Believes Russia Can Compete With Private Firms Like SpaceX in Space

US Hardware Production Begins for Money-Saving Next-Generation Rockets

'Fuzzy' fibers can take rockets' heat

IRON AND ICE
New MAVEN findings reveal how Mars' atmosphere was lost to space

Potential Mars Airplane Resumes Flight

Prolific Mars Orbiter Completes 50,000 Orbits

Final two ExoMars landing sites chosen

IRON AND ICE
Yuanwang fleet to carry out 19 space tracking tasks in 2017

China Develops Spaceship Capable of Moon Landing

Long March-7 Y2 ready for launch of China's first cargo spacecraft

China Seeks Space Rockets Launched from Airplanes

IRON AND ICE
Vietnam set to produce satellites by 2022

Globalsat Sky and Space Global sign MoU for testing and offering satellite service in Latin America

OneWeb Satellites breaks ground on high-volume satellite manufacturing facility

Start-Ups at the Final Frontier

IRON AND ICE
Spray-on memory could enable bendable digital storage

Space blanket floats away during historic spacewalk

NASA laser communications to provide Orion faster connections

Canadian subs to receive Kelvin Hughes' SharpEye radars

IRON AND ICE
TRAPPIST-1 flares threaten possibility of habitability on surrounding exoplanets

Inventing Tools for Detecting Life Elsewhere with Future Telescopes

Viruses in the oceanic basement

Researchers uncover a potent genetic element in Earth's smallest life forms

IRON AND ICE
Neptune's movement from the inner to the outer solar system was smooth and calm

Four unknown objects being investigated in Planet X

New Horizons Halfway from Pluto to Next Flyby Target

ANU leads public search for Planet X




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement