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Dinosaur-killing asteroid hit Earth 65 million years ago.
This is a satellite photograph of two huge sandy regions in the Fezzan region of Southwest Libya, near the border of Algeria. A persistent high-pressure system keeps this region of Libya completely dry for years at a time. The photograph was taken by the European Space Agency's Envisat satellite using its Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS).
When a 10-km (6-mile) dinosaur-killing asteroid struck the Earth 65 million years ago, it released so much energy that it vaporized rock, which then fell like rain around the world. scientists now think that these droplets of rock, called spherules, condensed out of a cloud of water vapour that surrounded the Earth shortly after the impact. They were able to trace the composition of the spherules back to the original Chicxulub impact crater, demonstrating that the material came from the Earth, and not the asteroid itself.
NASA announced on Wednesday their first Centennial Prizes, which will reward the development of new technologies for space exploration. The first is the Tether Challenge, where various teams will compete to see who can built the strongest cable material. In the Beam Challenge, teams will build power transmitters that send energy wirelessly to a robot climber - the winner's robot will lift the most weight to the top of a 50-metre cable. The winner of each prize will be awarded $50,000. Follow on challenges are planned for next year, and will award even higher prizes.
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