1. Space

    Senator Announces NASA Project to Park Asteroid Near Our Moon

    We first heard of the plan to capture a small asteroid and park it near our Moon, essentially giving our Moon a moon of its own, back in January, but now it seems all but official. Chairman of the Senate Science and Space Subcommittee, Senator Bill Nelson said on Friday President Obama will include $100 million in the 2014 budget for the asteroid project, calling it a "clever concept." I wonder what William Shatner will suggest we name it.

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  2. Space

    Asteroid Deflection Program AIDA Gets A Target After Recent Close Calls

    Do you remember a simpler time? As time before, say, a couple of weeks ago when we weren't all living in constant mortal fear of being crushed by a giant rock from outer space? Yeah, neither do we. Luckily, NASA and the ESA are on the job of intercepting potentially killer asteroids. The space agencies have partnered on a project known as Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) which they hope will be able to one day knock earthbound asteroids off course, and they've selected a test candidate for the project. To save the Earth -- or at least prove they could -- NASA and ESA will collide a small spacecraft with the binary asteroid Didymos in just... nine years? Don't they know we'll all have been killed by giant space rocks by then? Come on, guys, a little sense of urgency, huh?

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  3. Space

    Researchers Propose Giant Space Laser for Fending Off Future Asteroids

    Frightened of rocks from outer space falling on your head today? You can be forgiven for that, as it's a going concern this afternoon. Researchers at the University of California -- Santa Barbara and California Polytechnic State University are proposing a way to put your troubled mind at ease, though. They want to launch an array of solar-powered lasers into orbit that they say could not only deflect or vaporize incoming asteroids, but also be put to uses like powering future spacecraft as they explore the solar system.

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  4. Space

    Watch Live Stream Of Asteroid 2012 DA14 Buzzing Earth This Afternoon

    Well, by now you've probably seen and been equal parts terrified and mesmerized by the video of a meteor exploding in the skies over Russia, and if you haven't, take a couple of minutes and go do that right now, because seriously, it's incredible. When you're done, though, make sure you come back here to get an up close and personal look at 2012 DA14, a giant rock from space that so far as we can tell isn't going to explode in our atmosphere and blow out windows today, which is a nice change. Find out more about 2012 DA14 and watch NASA's live stream of the asteroid flyby  -- complete with commentary from NASA staff, who are full of all sorts of useful information about asteroids  -- right here starting at 2:00 pm EST.

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  5. Space

    A “Just Right” Asteroid Belt Could Be Key to Extraterrestrial Life

    The map for seeking out life elsewhere in the cosmos may have just gotten a new must-have accessory. A new study from NASA suggests that having an asteroid belt like our own solar system's could be a key ingredient in the development of extraterrestrial life.

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  6. Science

    Asteroids Could Be Deflected Using Paintballs If We Had 20 Years to Spare

    The potential for a huge asteroid impact is something that doesn't just concern science fiction these days. Scientists have spent a number of hours pondering exactly how the world might deal with an incoming catastrophe from space. Somehow blowing up any wayward asteroids is a constant suggestion in popular culture, but the reality is that an explosion might just create more debris with which to deal. Sung Wook Paek, an MIT grad student, has suggested that we should instead fire two volleys of paintballs at any asteroid on a collision course.

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  7. Space

    Water On Moon’s Surface Created By Solar Winds, Could Suggest Water Present On Asteroids

    Researchers from the University of Tennessee have found proof for the theory that water present on the surface of the Moon is the product of solar winds. This work not only shows that other teams have been on the right track, but suggests that large, planet like bodies such as asteroids could also house water created by the same process, in which solar winds carry charged hydrogen particles millions of miles to bond with oxygen particles, producing water molecules in unexpected places.

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  8. Space

    Asteroid Dust Cloud May be Earth’s Best Hope Against Global Warming

    Environmentalists want people to reduce their carbon footprints, compost, and do absolutely anything that might be able to reduce the effects of global warming. I'm not saying the environment isn't important, but the battle against convenience will inevitably be a losing one. Luckily for us, scientists from Scotland may have found a way to prevent the sun from melting us alive without asking the average person to stop driving their car. Researchers at the University of Strathclyde think the best way to reduce the sun's impact on the planet is to block some of its rays with a giant cloud of asteroid dust.

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  9. Gaming

    mmoAsteroids Brings Multiplayer Madness to a Classic

    Multiplayer -- especially online multiplayer -- is such an important part of modern gaming that it's almost hard to remember what it was like before it was around. mmoAsteroids seems to be attempting a little revisionist history on that front, and like the name suggests, provides a massively multiplayer online experience for the arcade classic Asteroids. It's way more fun than it has any right to be.

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  10. Space

    Aerospace Engineers Report Mass of Pebbles Could Deflect Asteroids

    Asteroids, being very large rocks hurtling through space, aren't often pitted against pebbles, being very small rocks not often found hurtling through space. But if we down here on Earth were to ever, say, hurtle enough pebbles with enough speed and the right angle, math says we'd be able to easily deflect asteroids. And yes, this is the easy solution: sending massive swarms of pebbles to do battle with space rocks.

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  11. Space

    NASA is Developing a Space Harpoon for Shooting at Comets and Asteroids

    In hopes of making it easier for future space missions to collect samples from asteroids and comets, NASA is working on a crazy space harpoon that will help make that happen. The issue with collecting samples from asteroids and comets aside from the fact that they are both moving fast and far away from Earth, is that they don't command much gravity. This makes traditional approaches like the scoop or the shovel pretty much useless because they'll push you right off the surface. An explosive powered space harpoon, on the other hand, can get the job done.

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  12. Space

    Asteroid Will Swing Past Earth Tomorrow

    First things first: Earth is in no danger from mass extinction, or any Holly-wood style destruction. That said, the 90 foot wide Asteroid 2011 MD will pass within 7,430 miles of our home planet. For reference, that distance is about half the diameter of the Earth, and will be the fifth-closest observed approach an asteroid has made to the Earth. In terms of speed and orbit, 2011 MD is actually quite similar to Earth. Because of this, the space rock intercepts our planet's orbit every 13 years or so. The close fly-by and similar speeds mean that it would be an ideal candidate for ground-based viewing, but that won't be so likely this time around. Unfortunately, the asteroid will pass on the sunlit side of the Earth, and likely be best observed with radio telescopes. Though tomorrow's close encounter will lack some drama, future encounters with 2011 MD could be far more interesting.  The swing by with Earth is going to put a crimp in the asteroid's orbit, perhaps bringing it even closer next time around. Which wouldn't be so bad considering that the diminutive asteroid would fizzle up in the atmosphere, making for quite a spectacular show. (via Bad Astronomy)

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  13. Gaming

    Thirty Years Ago Six Dudes Played the First Charity Video Game Marathon

    In a modern era where a team of gamers (LoadingReadyRun) spend almost six straight days playing and webcasting the most boring game in the world (Desert Bus) and at the end of it raise more than $200,000 to give toys, games, books, and craft supplies to sick kids (Child's Play), it's good to remember that things have not always been so. Which is not to say that gamers haven't always had the same percentage of righteous and generous individuals, but just that the internet has not been available, and the young medium was even younger.  But that didn't keep a few individuals from marching down to their arcade on January 2nd, 1981 and playing Asteroids until they'd raised enough money to pay for a local teen's gravestone.

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  14. Space

    Asteroid Impact

    (via Reddit)

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  15. Gaming

    Turn Any Webpage into a Playable Game of Asteroids

    Redditor erikperik created a most excellent JavaScript bookmarklet that lets you turn any webpage into a playable game of Asteroids. And in this case, "playable" means "you can fly around blowing up HTML by shooting at it." On longer, top-down pages, the ship even scrolls down with you. Controls: (via erkie.github)
    Steer with the arrow-keys. Shoot with space. To activate click the bookmark once on your webpage of choice. Can't see your remaining enemies? Then press and hold B
    Click this link to commence blasting at Geekosystem, and bookmark it to use on any page. (erkie.github via Waxy | Asteroids bookmarklet)

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