In a novel dating from billions of years ago, 3 grains of dust, despite their small size and being smaller than the thickness of a hair, revealed the history of an asteroid and revealed many of its secrets.
The three particles of the asteroid “Itakawa” transmitted that this type of spatial object is much older than was thought and much more solid.
This also coincides with a review of the plans to avoid a collision with the planet, according to a study published on Monday in the magazine “Proceedings” of the National Academy of EE. UU.
All three samples arrived in 2005
The three samples were brought in 2005 from the asteroid when it was about 300 million kilometers from Earth.
while the Japanese space probe “Hayabusa” after 5 years transported these samples to Earth, along with hundreds of other Itokawa particles.
For his part, a professor from the School of Planetary and Earth Sciences at Australian Curtin University, Fred Jordan, sought to know the age of Itokawa, a type of asteroid described as having “loose mass”, explaining that it resulted from the collection of fragments of a compact asteroid that was shattered by the impact.
The researchers concluded that Itokawa formed after a collision that occurred at least 4.2 billion years ago, which is about the age of Earth (4.5 billion years), but more importantly, it is ten times older than the age of homogeneous asteroids of similar size.
Due to the importance of the age of this asteroid, Jordan is convinced that some of his classmates will not believe him.
In addition, the study showed that the flexibility of this type of space object in the face of collisions leads one to believe that it may be much more than previously thought.
The “Dart” experiment to deflect an asteroid, carried out successfully by the US space agency (NASA) last year, also showed that this is possible with an object like Itokawa, according to the scientist.
However, that required a much greater force on him.
hundreds of millions of years
It is noteworthy that compact asteroids reach an age that can exceed hundreds of millions of years.
It is also gradually being eroded by collisions with other asteroids.
Loose-mass asteroids, like Itokawa, have a very different structure, containing a variety of rocks, dust, pebbles, and even voids, held together by a small effect of gravity.
Professor Jordan compared it to “a giant pillow in space, and pillows are capable of absorbing impacts.