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Solar System - Small bodies of Solar System Topics

  • How Capt. Kirk Changed the World

    2010April 6, 2011

    A NASA spacecraft inspired by Star Trek technology is en route to explore a giant asteroid and a dwarf planet.

  • STEREO Hunts for Remains of an Ancient Planet near Earth

    2009April 6, 2011

    NASA's twin STEREO probes are entering a mysterious region of space to look for remains of an ancient planet which once orbited the Sun not far from Earth. If they find anything, it could solve a major puzzle--the origin of the Moon.

  • Comet Champion of the Solar System

    2000April 6, 2011

    Less than seven months after the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory registered its 100th comet discovery, amateur astronomers help SOHO double its record-setting total. Scientists think that most of SOHO's Cometsare fragments from the breakup of a single giant comet long ago.

  • Trick or Treat: It's Toutatis!

    2000April 6, 2011

    NASA scientists are monitoring a large near-Earth asteroid that tumbled past our planet on the morning of Halloween 2000. Amateur astronomers can spot it for themselves in telescopes later this month and through binoculars when it passes even closer to Earth in Sept. 2004.

  • Comet LINEAR Misbehaves

    2000April 6, 2011

    Although comet LINEAR was not bright enough to see with the unaided eye when it passed by Earth this week, the comet is grabbing the attention of astronomers with peculiar behavior, including orbit-altering jets and fragments breaking away from its nucleus.

  • Much Ado about 2000 SG344

    2000April 6, 2011

    Later this century a relic from NASA's earliest space exploration efforts might return to Earth, if current estimates are confirmed. The near-Earth object, which follows an orbit almost identical to our planet's, looks like an asteroid but may be an Apollo-era rocket booster.

  • Eros or Bust

    2000April 6, 2011

    As any dinosaur can tell you, it's important to keep an eye on Near-Earth Asteroids. On February 14, 2000, NASA's NEAR spacecraft will go into orbit around 433 Eros for a year-long closeup look at a 21 mile long space rock. Data collected during the mission could revolutionize our understanding of the solar system's "minor planets."

  • Leonid Meteor Balloon Rises Again

    2000April 6, 2011

    A team of NASA scientists and ham radio amateurs will loft a weather balloon toward the stratosphere on Nov. 18th to record the sights and sounds of the 2000 Leonid meteor shower. Readers can follow the balloon flight thanks to a live webcast at

  • Arctic Asteroid!

    2000April 6, 2011

    In January, 2000, a seven meter, 200 metric ton rock from space streaked across the skies of western Canada. The meteor was at least as bright as the Sun before it exploded over the Yukon Territory. Scientists have recovered fragments of the asteroid, which researchers say is the most valuable meteorite find in at least 30 years.

  • Kamikaze Comets

    2000April 6, 2011

    A surprising pattern emerges from satellite observations of lightning. Storms over the Great Plains States have significantly more Lightningthat never reaches the ground, an indicator of violent activity that can spawn hail and tornadoes.