NASA's Osiris-REx mission has successfully returned a pristine sample of asteroid back to Earth. This cupful-or-so of space rock could shed light on the solar system's origins.
The dust, which came from distant stars, is thought to be similar to grains that eventually helped form the planets, including Earth.
NASA successfully crashed a spacecraft into an asteroid in a test of planetary defense. Now it will determine whether the mission was able to alter the asteroid's course.
NASA is about to launch the first mission of its new planetary defense office. A spacecraft will attempt to knock a small asteroid off course by ramming into it.
The device was detonated as part of a mission to better understand the origins of planets.
On Twitter, the craft echoed Alice in Wonderland, declaring: "And then I found myself in a place like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery and danger!"
The Earth's encounter with asteroid 3200 Phaethon on Saturday will be its closest since 1974 — and the closest it will be until 2093. The flyby means good gazing for amateur astronomers.
Don't worry: Astronomers say asteroid 2014 JO25, which is more than a third of a mile wide, will fly harmlessly past our planet. Still, it should come close enough to be visible with small telescopes.
The asteroid smashed into Earth. And from miles under the Earth's surface, rock hurtled upward to a height twice that of Mount Everest and then collapsed outward to form a ring of mountains.
Flying people to an asteroid is really hard, so NASA wants to bring part of it to them. But some former astronauts say the $2 billion plan was born of politics and budget cuts, and makes little sense.