NASA’s DART asteroid-impact mission will be a key test of planetary defense

When NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) slams into the tiny asteroid Dimorphos, it will be our first attempt to demonstrate our ability to deflect dangerous incoming asteroids. For decades, scientists around the world have been scanning the skysearching for potentially hazardous asteroids in the vicinity of Earth. And as astronomers discover near-Earth asteroids in … Read more

DART asteroid mission: NASA’s first planetary defense spacecraft

NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, or DART for short, is an ambitious project designed to test a method of deflecting an asteroid for the purpose of planetary defense, using the “kinetic impactor” technique. DART mission key facts – Launched: Nov. 24, 2021 at 1:20 am EDT (0620 GMT) – Launch site: Space Launch Complex … Read more

Scientists discover new antiviral defense system in bacteria

A team led by researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT has discovered that organisms across all three domains of life—bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes (which includes plants and animals)—use pattern recognition of conserved viral proteins to defend against pathogens. Credit: Feng Zhang Bacteria use … Read more

The best offense is a great defense for some carnivorous plants

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain Insect-eating plants have fascinated biologists for more than a century, but how plants evolved the ability to capture and consume live prey has largely remained a mystery. Now, Salk scientists, along with collaborators from Washington University in St. Louis, have investigated the molecular basis of plant carnivory and found evidence that … Read more

Researchers simulate defense of the Earth against asteroid impact

−3), the overburden pressure in the center of the body is about 2 Pa. The background gradient shows the transition to the gravity-dominated regime, where the target’s overburden pressure at the cratering depth exceeds the cohesion. The formation times, T, of the postimpact stable structures are shown at the top of the figure. Credit: The … Read more

Antagonistic interactions of plant defense compounds

Tobacco hornworm larvae (Manduca sexta) on a Nicotiana attenuata plant. Credit: Danny Kessler, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology A combined defense of different chemical defense substances could result in a negative interaction and mutual detoxification, according to researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in a new study, appearing in Proceedings of … Read more

Planetary defense exercise uses asteroid Apophis as hazardous asteroid stand-in

Clockwise from top left are three of the observatories that participated in a 2021 planetary defense exercise: NASA’s Goldstone planetary radar, the Mount Lemmon telescope of the Catalina Sky Survey, and NASA’s NEOWISE mission. At bottom left is an illustration of the path of Apophis’ close approach in 2029. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona Watching the … Read more

In poplars, two plant hormones boost each other in defense against pathogenic fungi

New Phytologist (2022). DOI: 10.1111/nph.18148″ width=”800″ height=”530″/> Accumulation of salicylic acid (SA) and jasmonates in poplar after infection with a virulent rust fungus, Melampsora larici-populina. (a, b) Concentrations of SA and its glucoside (SAG) in poplar leaves with and without rust infection. (c–f) Jasmonate content in poplar leaves with and without rust infection. Young trees … Read more

Exploring Active Planetary Defense & the DART Mission

One strong motivation for learning more about asteroids is to understand their potential for colliding with the earth. In this week’s post, MSc student Ankita Das considers the Double-Asteroid Redirect Test, or DART, Mission. (Above: Asteroid Didymos and its moonlet Dimorphos taken by the Arecibo telescope is radar taken in 2003 Source: Arecibo Observatory/NASA) by … Read more