The surface of the Bennu asteroid is filled with volcanoes. But data from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission shows, in fact, the two holes are missing. The findings suggest that some unexpected geological processes are beginning in the 0.3-mile-wide (0.5-kilometer) rock visited by American explorers.
NASA OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft spent about two and a half years between 2018 and 2021 studying near Earth. asteroid Bennu. Although the probe will not give its small pieces of that rock to Earth until next year, scientists have already searched for thousands of images and data collected by the plane.
This amount of information and photos makes Bennu one of the best bodyguards in the world. Solar systemEdward “Beau” Bierhaus, a space science researcher at Lockheed Martin and lead author of a new paper describing the findings told Space.com.
“We’ve collected thousands and thousands of images and billions of real LIDARs to give us a topographic view of Bennu,” Bierhaus said. “Now we have the most accurate topographic map of a body in the solar system.”
Select: This is NASA’s best known (and very close!) Asteroid Bennu
Bierhaus and his colleagues spent months going through those photos with the intention of learning more about how volcanoes work in the United States. asteroidand what the researchers saw amazed them.
Bennu is 1,590 feet (484 meters) wide with volcanoes – scientists have identified over 1,500 of them, ranging from 3 feet (1 m) to 660 feet (200 m) wide. However, the researchers compared these numbers with data on the frequency and intensity of secondary competition on Earth, the month and other bodies. Those statistics show that scientists have a wide range of waste products.
“Statistically, we expect to see more small holes,” Bierhaus said. “But they’re not there.”
The holes are gone
Scientists base their knowledge on the formation of asteroid craters by looking at the skins of rock stars, such as Mars a Mercury, or the moon. Without adequate atmosphere and small volcanoes, these fixed worlds keep an accurate record of their eruptions in the past.
But in Bennu, things are not the same.
According to Bierhaus, what scientists saw in Bennu was similar to that of a Japanese plane. Haybusa Seen on the asteroid Itokawavisited in 2005. That asteroid, much smaller than Bennu, does not have many craters, Bierhaus said.
“We think this lack of small holes is related to the nature of Bennu’s skin,” Bierhaus said. “It’s very dark, covered with rocks, and very different from the moon and Mars.”
Bennu is what scientists call a lumpy asteroid: Rather than a solid rock block, the small Earth is a lump of rock, pebbles and sand, all of which were formed in earlier groups, in also held by umekaumaha. This type of activity, says Bierhaus, acts like a “crumple zone in a car,” which involves many consequences, much less force, almost without awareness.
Scientists call that crumple zone “impact armoring.”
“When something hits Bennu, the impact energy is not properly absorbed by the size of the asteroid,” Bierhaus said. “It may be hit by a single stone or a small number of stones.
Understanding how rubble-pile asteroids work during the effects is interesting not only from a scientific point of view, Bierhaus said. Scientists believe that most of the asteroids near Earth – which can harm our planet – are debris.
If a large asteroid is seen one day on a plane with Earth, the man must send a killer out of his way, in an attempt to prevent the encounter. But that was hard work.
“Our ability to do this depends a lot on how we know how to build these things, how they come together and how they respond to powerful events,” Bierhaus said. “By studying rubble-pile asteroids, we not only learn about the history and evolution of the solar system, but about our ability to protect Earth.”
You decided on the surface in the solar system
Bennu also provided other amazing things. Looking at the features and specifying the asteroid’s orbit, scientists found that unlike the moon, Bennu does not keep a very long history of his past encounters. On average, fragments of past events are erased every million years, and while the asteroid itself is up to a billion years old, its evolution is constantly young.
“Depending on the number of volcanoes seen, you can choose the age of the crust,” Bierhaus said. “For Bennu, we have something like 2 million years, and it’s amazing. It’s one of the youngest volcanic years we’ve seen in the solar system.”
Having to contend with some preconceived notions about the survival of asteroids. In these “geologically dead” bodies, with no volcanoes and atmosphere, others are clearly seen to be working to save more life than expected, says Bierhaus. .
“We thought we had a general understanding of the different types of cratering that can be reported,” he said. “And it’s amazing to look at Bennu and see that there is a new government that we haven’t admired before.”
The lesson (opens on new page) published in the journal Nature Geoscience on Friday (April 7).