Why NASA Care About Space Rocks


The whole history of human existence is a small blip in the 4.5-billion-year history of our solar system. Before settling in their present configuration, no one was around to see planets forming and undergoing dramatic changes. Scientists need to hunt for clues to that mysterious distant past in order to understand what came before us -before life on Earth and before Earth itself.

NASA has a long history of exploring small bodies, beginning with Galileo’s 1991 flyby of asteroid Gaspra. The first spacecraft to orbit an asteroid, Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker, also successfully landed on asteroid Eros in 2000 and took measurements that originally hadn’t been planned. The Deep Impact mission drove a probe into Comet Tempel 1 in 2005 and prompted scientists to rethink where comets formed. More recent efforts have built on those successes and will continue to teach us more about our solar system.

Building Blocks of Planets

Our solar system, as we know it today, is formed from dust grains-tiny rock, metal and ice particles-swirling around our infant Sun in a disk. Most of the material from this disk fell into the newborn star, but some bits avoided this fate and stuck together, growing into asteroids, comets and even planets. To this day, many of the remains of that process have survived. Planetary growth from smaller objects is one piece of our history that can help us investigate asteroids and comets.

Artist’s impression of the 2014 MU69 spacecraft of NASA’s New Horizons, a Kuiper Belt object orbiting the Sun 1 billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto on January 1, 2019.

Delivery of the Elements of Life

It is also likely that small worlds are responsible for seeding Earth with the life ingredients. Studying how much water they have is evidence of how they helped seed life on Earth.”Small bodies are the game changers. They participate in the slow and steady evolution of our solar system over time and influence planetary atmospheres and life opportunities.

This “super – resolution” view of Ben-nu asteroid was created using eight images from a distance of approximately 205 miles (330 kilometers) from NASA’s OSIRIS – Rex spacecraft on Oct. 29, 2018.

Tracers of Solar System Evolution

Between 50 and 500 million years after the Sun formed, a particularly catastrophic time for the solar system. The objects around them were reorganized by Jupiter and Saturn, the most massive giants of our system, as their gravity interacted with smaller worlds like asteroids.

As Jupiter and Saturn moved around, Uranus and Neptune may have originated closer to the Sun and kicked outward. Indeed, Saturn may have prevented Jupiter from “eating” some of the earth’s planets, including Earth, as its gravity counteracted the further movement of Jupiter toward the Sun.

Processes in an Evolving Solar System

You may notice scattered sunlight in the ecliptic plane, the region of the sky where the planets orbit, after sunset, under the right conditions. This is because dust from the collisions of small bodies such as comets and asteroids scatters sunlight. Scientists refer to this phenomenon as “zodiac light,” and this is an indication that our solar system is still active. Around other stars, zodiacal dust indicates that they too can harbor active planetary systems.

Hazards to Earth

While the Trojans are stuck being Jupiter groupies, Ben-nu, the target of the OSIRIS-Rex mission, is one of the most potentially hazardous asteroids to Earth that is currently known, even though its odds of colliding with Earth are still relatively small; scientists estimate Ben-nu has a 1‐in‐2,700 chance of impacting our planet during one of its close approaches to Earth in the late 22nd century. Right now, scientists can predict Ben nu’s path quite precisely through the year 2135, when the asteroid will make one of its close passes by Earth.

Small Worlds as Pit Stops, Resources for Future Exploration

There are no gas stations in space yet, but scientists and engineers are already beginning to think about how asteroids might one day serve as spacecraft refueling stations on the way to more distant destinations. These small worlds could help astronauts restore their supplies as well. Ben-nu For example, is likely to have water bound in clay minerals that might one day be harvested to hydrate thirsty space travelers.

They are small worlds, after all.


  1. Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m
    not seeing very good success. If you know of any please share.


  2. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic.

    I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more.
    Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for
    this information for my mission.

  3. What’s up to every one, the contents present at this web page are in fact remarkable for people experience,
    well, keep up the good work fellows.

  4. I do trust all the concepts you have presented on your post.
    They are very convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are too short for newbies.
    Could you please extend them a little from next time?
    Thank you for the post.

  5. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.

    You definitely know what youre talking about,
    why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos
    to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

  6. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s
    time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest
    you few interesting things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this
    article. I desire to read more things about it!

  7. What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads.
    I’m hoping to give a contribution & help other customers like its helped me.
    Good job.

  8. You have made some really good points there. I checked on the web to find
    out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your
    views on this website.

  9. Helpful information. Lucky me I discovered your web site unintentionally, and I’m stunned why this twist of fate did not came about in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  10. I think this is one of the so much significant information for me.

    And i’m happy reading your article. But should commentary on few
    general things, The website style is ideal, the articles is in point of fact excellent :
    D. Just right task, cheers

  11. This is the perfect site for anybody who wants to find out about
    this topic. You realize so much its almost tough
    to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject which has been written about for years.
    Wonderful stuff, just great!

  12. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  13. Hey there! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the excellent job!

  14. My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net
    from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because
    of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on numerous websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform.
    I have heard very good things about blogengine.net.

    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  15. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective.
    A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal.
    I must say you’ve done a awesome job with this. Also,
    the blog loads very quick for me on Chrome. Outstanding

  16. What i don’t realize is in truth how you are now not actually a
    lot more well-favored than you might be now. You’re so intelligent.
    You already know therefore significantly in relation to this subject, made me in my opinion believe it from so many
    various angles. Its like men and women aren’t involved except it is something to do with Girl
    gaga! Your individual stuffs nice. Always
    maintain it up!

  17. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been doing a little research on this.
    And he in fact bought me lunch due to the fact that I discovered it for him…

    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your site.

  18. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website.
    I’m hoping to see the same high-grade content by
    you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own site
    now 😉

  19. Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is fundamental and everything.
    However think about if you added some great visuals
    or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and videos, this
    blog could certainly be one of the greatest in its niche.
    Superb blog!

  20. Howdy, I do believe your website may be having web
    browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it
    looks fine however, if opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that,
    great blog!

  21. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your
    situation; we have created some nice procedures and we are
    looking to swap methods with other folks, why not shoot me
    an e-mail if interested.

  22. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog.
    You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write
    some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back
    to mine. Please shoot me an email if interested. Thank you!

  23. Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just
    wondering if you get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you reduce
    it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving
    me mad so any help is very much appreciated.

  24. Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless think of if you added some great graphics or videos to give your posts more, “pop”!

    Your content is excellent but with pics and
    video clips, this blog could certainly be one of the
    very best in its field. Great blog!

  25. Thank you for another excellent article. The place else could anybody get that kind of info in such an ideal means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation next week, and I’m on the look for such information.

  26. I just want to say I am very new to blogs and truly savored you’re web site. More than likely I’m likely to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with superb articles and reviews. Regards for sharing your webpage.

  27. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was
    super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what
    I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any tips and hints for beginner blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  28. I’m not sure exactly why but this site is loading incredibly slow for
    me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end?
    I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  29. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I
    clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all
    that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  30. How long does a copyright last on newspaper articles?. . If a service copies newspapers articles and then posts it in a database on the Internet, is there also a copyright on the Internet content?.

  31. I have been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all site
    owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  32. I am usually to running a blog and i actually recognize your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

  33. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before
    but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyways, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll
    be book-marking and checking back often!

  34. I want to express appreciation to you just for rescuing me from this problem. Right after browsing through the online world and obtaining opinions which were not beneficial, I believed my entire life was done. Living devoid of the approaches to the problems you have resolved by means of your good write-up is a critical case, and the ones that would have badly damaged my career if I hadn’t encountered your site. Your good capability and kindness in dealing with all the stuff was helpful. I am not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t come upon such a subject like this. I can at this time look forward to my future. Thank you so much for your high quality and effective guide. I will not think twice to recommend the blog to any individual who would need guidance on this situation.

  35. Howdy I am so delighted I found your blog page, I really
    found you by mistake, while I was looking on Google
    for something else, Regardless I am here now and would
    just like to say thanks a lot for a tremendous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love
    the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment
    but I have saved it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep
    up the great job.

  36. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get
    listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to
    get there! Thanks


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here