Asteroid is almost as old as the solar system – “Like a giant space cushion”

An asteroid, which consists of small stones and rocks, is apparently quickly indestructible – after all, it is as integrated as the solar system.

Perth – A large part of the asteroids are known to experts as “heaps of rubble”, also “heaps of rubble”. They are made up of numerous smaller boulders that are held together by loosing gravity. In contrast, monolithic asteroids consist of a single rock, as explains.

A well-known “debris pile” asteroid is Itokawa, an asteroid about 500 meters long that was visited in November 2005 by the Japanese space probe “Hayabusa 1”. The space probe brought rock samples to earth in 2010 – a research team from Curtin University in Perth, Australia, was able to examine three small dust particles and gain important new insights from them.

“Clear Pile” asteroid is made up of rocks and empty space – it’s quickly indestructible

The short-term research result of the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was published may play a major role in future research. Namely, the researchers found out that the asteroid Itokawa is difficult to destroy and fierce against impacts and collisions. The asteroid, which is about the size of the iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge, is also as old: Itokawa is as fast as the solar system in which it moves.

The asteroid Itokawa is 500 meters long and consists of numerous rocks and boulders. (icon picture)
The asteroid Itokawa is 500 meters long and consists of numerous rocks and boulders. (Iconic image) © Curtin University

“The lifetime of the Itokawa-sized monolithic asteroids in the asteroid belt is estimated at only several hundred thousand years,” explains the study’s lead author, Fred Jourdan of the School of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Curtin University. “Unlike monoliths, Iokawa isn’t a single lump of rock, but is made up of loose rocks and rocks — almost half of the asteroid is empty space,” Jourdan continues.

Asteroid Itokawa is “like a giant space cushion” and quickly indestructible

The researcher is convinced that a large impact at least 4.2 billion years ago hit the monolithic mother asteroid and created Itokawa. “The surprisingly long survival time of an asteroid the size of Itokawa is attributed to the shock-absorbing effect of the material in the debris piles,” explains the scientist. “In short, we found that Itokawa is like a giant space cushion and very difficult to destroy.”

Until now, it was not clear how long-lived “debris pile” asteroids are – which is why it is difficult to develop defense strategies for such asteroids. The US space agency Nasa recently tested as part of the “DART” mission whether the impact of a space probe can throw an asteroid off its course. In order to develop such plans for “debris heaps” asteroids, researchers must first learn more about them.

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“Debris Pile” asteroid is fast, as old as the solar system

“We expected to see whether ‘debris’ asteroids are shock-resistant, or whether they shatter from the slight shock,” study co-author Nick Timms said in a statement. “Now that we’ve established that they can quickly survive the entire history of the solar system, they must be reoccurring in the asteroid belt than previously thought, making it more likely that a larger asteroid hurtling toward Earth would be the ‘e’ asteroid will be.”

Do the researchers now start with this new knowledge? “The good news is that we can use this information to our advantage,” emphasizes Timms, continuing: “If an asteroid is discovered too late for a kinetic collision, we can potentially take a more aggressive approach.” The shock wave of a nuclear explosion, die could throw a “debris pile” asteroid off course without destroying it. Scientists will work on other ideas and scenarios in the future.

News about asteroids

Just recently, astronomers discovered a small asteroid that shortly afterwards hit Earth. It was not the first case of this art.

So it’s no exaggeration to say that the study of three asteroid dust motes may one day save the world – a claim that the study’s communication also makes right in its headline: “Asteroid finds from space dust could save the planet.” (Tab)

, Asteroid is almost as old as the solar system – “Like a giant space cushion”

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