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Asteroid tracked from space to Earth

Combination of telescope data and collected debris could provide new insights

2:05pm, March 25, 2009

They saw it coming, and they got what was coming to them. For the first time, researchers not only detected an asteroid in space, but also tracked its progress and then collected its debris after it crashed to Earth.

The car-sized asteroid, dubbed 2008 TC3, landed in northern Sudan on October 7, 2008, scientists report in the March 25 Nature. The study combines for one asteroid data that are usually separate: Comparing data from observations of the asteroid in while it was space with analysis of its meteorite fragments on Earth will yield new insights into asteroids, the scientists say.

Small asteroids like 2008 TC3 are fairly common, with about one astero

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