Instead, I am talking about those orbiting rocky bodies in space, that some call minor planets, some call planetoids, but in general, we refer to as Asteroids.
Why this sudden interest in Asteroids? Well, although I’ve already mentioned the game that I enjoyed, and there’s many other fun non-scientific things associated with that name, but real Asteroids?
Earlier, I told you how I’ve rekindled my long-time interest in Space.
The day after I wrote that post, I stumbled across a spacey podcast episode about Asteroids, which lead me to subscribing to the full podcast of course.
And the specific Asteroidy podcast episode in question? That would be "How many Asteroids are out there? With Dr. Mainzer."
As I began to listen to the beginning of the episode, I was honestly reminded of something rather humorous and completely irrelevant (and slightly irreverent). The absolutely hilarious SNL (Saturday Night Live) skit called "Delicious Dish." Yes, it’s completely irrelevant, aside from the voice qualities of the two girls speaking – somehow soft and reserved, yet saying some fun and interesting things…
By the way – I apologize for the quality of the video. It’s not mine and is only a video pointing at a TV screen of the actual show. Horrible, yes. But in searching for a decent representation of the video on YouTube, I quickly realized that the lack of originals and sheer vast volume of re-makes was suggestive of copyright law. Anyway, moving along here. If you watch the video all the way through, you’ll get why I chuckled.
The initial chuckling was a bit out of line, but it was probably a good thing; it kept me listening. And I’m glad I did.
I was able to actually learn quite a bit. Here we have two highly-educated professionals in their industries conversing in detail about not only about Asteroids in general, but also the work that goes into studying them. This sounds like a topic that us wee mortals could in no way fathom, however both the show host and Dr. Mainzer broke it down. A step-by-step approach of explanation in layman’s terms.
Dr. Mainzer and her NEOWISE team calculated how many Asteroids are out in space, waiting to be discovered. Now let that sink in for a minute…
The NEOWISE project is the asteroid-hunting portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. Funded by NASA’s Planetary Science Division, NEOWISE harvests measurements of Asteroids and comets from the WISE images and provides a rich archive for searching WISE data for solar system objects.
In short, if you’ve a slight interest in Space, like I do, you will love subscribing and listening to SpacePod.
In Dr. Nugent’s own words:
Hear stories about the alien moons orbiting our Sun, of cold stars, and the future of space exploration. Every week, scientist Dr. Carrie Nugent chats about an amazing part of our universe with an expert guest. Spacepod is the podcast that gives you an inside look into space exploration.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my learning experience and perhaps have found a new interest. To close out, let’s look at some scientific resources and those related to Asteroids but not so sciency. 😛
Asteroids – Sciency Stuff
- Minor Planet
A gateway to the Collaborative Asteroid Lightcurve Link (CALL) web site in addition to many other subsites, external sites, and pages that concern research on Asteroids, or the "minor planets"
A Scientific & Economic (seriously – think mining) database of over 600,000 Asteroids
- Asteroids with Satellites
- Asteroid Moons
Same topic as above but with different things going on
- The Tracking News
A list of news items regarding small Solar System bodies
- JPL SSD
A Small-Body Database Browser
- Small Bodies Node
of the NASA Planetary Data System
Near Earth Objects – Dynamic Site
Asteroids – Dynamic Site
- The Near-Earth Asteroids Database
Brought to you by the folks at EARN (European Asteroid Research Node)
- Minor Planet Mailing List
A Yahoo! discussion forum for minor planet researchers
- PDS (Planetary Data System) – Asteroid/Dust Archive
Asteroids – Not Necessarily Science but Cool Nonetheless
- Asteroid Day
Yep, it exists. It’s described as "A global awareness movement to protect Earth from asteroid impacts."
The 1997 TV Movie
- The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
A quick look at the classic Atari video game
- Play Asteroids on IGN
- Free Asteroids
A website dedicated to the playing of Asteroids
- Coded Asteroids
Dude coded the game purely in HTML5!