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Asteroid that stuck the Earth off the coast of Australia.

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Asteroid Earth.
Asteroid that stuck the Earth off the coast of Australia.

Asteroid That Nearly Ended Life on Earth.

Approximately 250 million years ago, something nearly wiped out life on Earth; 90% of marine animals and 80% of land animals were snuffed out in the geologic blink of an eye. Researchers now believe they've found the culprit: an 8 to 11 km (5 to 7 mile) asteroid that stuck the Earth off the coast of Australia. The impact happened so long ago, there isn't a crater, but geologists have found several clues that lead to this spot, including deposits of "shocked quartz" which can only be formed in a violent event like an asteroid strike.

Two Planet Finding Missions.

One of the big goals of astronomy is to answer the question: are we alone? In order to find out the answer, NASA is planning to launch two separate space observatories within the next 10-15 years which will be capable of finding Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. Terrestrial planet Finder-C will be a moderately sized optical telescope launched by 2014 capable of blocking the glare from a star in order to be able to see planets orbiting it. planet Finder-I will launch by 2020, and comprise multiple spacecraft flying in formation which will simulate a much larger observatory.

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