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Astronomers predicted that it could strike the Earth in 2014.

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the Earth's axis
the Earth's axis: Image credit: NASA.

Sep 2, 2003 scientists have believed that the tilt of the Earth's axis is very important to supporting life on our planet, but a new simulation from Pennsylvania State University seems to indicate that life could arise on our planet, even if it was severely tilted. Even when the planet was tilted past its current 23 degrees to 54, 70 and 85 degrees, global climate, rainfall, snow and ice cover closely matched today's climate. Only when there was no tilt did the simulation predict a colder world than we have - but still largely habitable.

comet: Image credit: ESO .

Sep 2, 2003 Seventeen years after Comet Halley made its closest approach to the Earth, the ESO's Very Large telescope "discovered" it again. Halley was discovered as part of the ESO's search for small Trans-Neptunian Objects; a group of small icy bodies in our outer solar system. Halley is currently 4200 million km away from the Sun, but when it reaches its furthest point of orbit in 2032 it would still be visible in the VLT telescope. This means that Halley can be observed throughout its entire orbit over the course of 76 years.

Comet Halley made its closest approach to the Earth
Comet Halley made its closest approach to the Earth: Image credit: NASA.

Sep 2, 2003 When asteroid 2003 QQ47 was discovered last week from a tracking system in New Mexico, Astronomers predicted that it could strike the Earth in 2014. Astronomers have now made 51 observations of its orbit and determined that the chance of it hitting the Earth are 1 in 909,000 and additional observations will probably reduce this possibility to zero. The space rock is estimated to be 1.2 km across and travelling at a speed of 30 km/second. If it did strike the Earth, it would cause widespread destruction across an entire continent, releasing the same amount of energy as 350 billion tonnes of TNT.

Russian Progress cargo ship
Russian Progress cargo ship: Image credit: NASA.

Sep 2, 2003 The Russian Progress cargo ship launched last week caught up and docked with the International Space Station on Saturday. It delivered nearly three tons of food, fuel, water, supplies and scientific gear for the next crew to inhabit the station. The Progress 12 automatically linked up with the Zvezda Service Module at 0340 GMT (11:40 pm EDT Friday). Another Progress ship currently docked with the station will undock on Thursday to make room for the Soyuz that will launch with the Expedition 7 astronauts on October 20.

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