Ancient asteroids are covered with popcorning pebbles

n 2019, when NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft approached the asteroid Bennu, scientists saw something stunning in the images beamed back to Earth. The surface of the space rock wasn’t calm — instead, swarms of marble-sized rocks were popcorning off the asteroid.

Now, a new study of a meteorite that landed on Earth reveals how this asteroid activity occurs. Small collisions can dislodge the pebbles, which shoot off the asteroid but fall back, drawn in by the space rock’s gravitational pull. Another collision can then smush the loose pebbles back together, creating a kind of cement of minerals from all around the asteroid’s surface.

“It provides a new way of explaining the way that minerals on the surfaces of asteroids get mixed,” Xin Yang, a graduate student at the Chicago Field Museum and the University of Chicago and the first author of the new study, said in a statement.

Meteorite mystery

Previously, astronomers thought that asteroids had to undergo dramatic, high-speed, high-pressure collisions to reshape their surfaces, Philipp Heck, the curator of meteoritics at the Field Museum and the study’s senior author, said in the statement.

However, the new study, published Aug. 11 in the journal Nature Astronomy (opens in new tab), indicates that it actually doesn’t take much to morph an asteroid. The researchers discovered this when they examined a bit of the Aguas Zarcas meteorite, which fell in Costa Rica in 2019. Fragments of the space rock, which acquired a smooth glassy sheen as a result of the heating it experienced in the atmosphere, hit the roof of a house and a nearby doghouse, according to Arizona State University’s Buseck Center for Meteorite Studies.

Related Posts

A bolt of lightning… Dramatic lightning illuminates the Eiffel Tower

The iconic Eiffel Tower, already a breathtaking sight on the Paris skyline, experienced a truly electrifying moment when Mother Nature decided to add a touch of her…

Fearful Indonesians fled as archaeologists discovered fossils of the legendary One-Eyed Monster

Ever woпder where oυr worst пightmares come from? For the aпcieпt Greeks, it may have beeп the fossils of giaпt prehistoric aпimals. The tυsk, several teeth, aпd…

Uncovering the Mysterious Anomаly: Scientists Discover Mutant Human-pig Hybrid with Six Legs

Reсently, аn extrаordinаry mutаted сreаture emerged, boаѕtіng multірle lіmbѕ, аn eerіe fасіаl аррeаrаnce, аnd а рrofound іmраct on the onlіne сommunіty. The dіѕсovery of thіѕ mutаted сreаture…

Unexplained Wonders: Mysterious Ancient Technology, Strange Ruins, and Strange Discoeries That Perplex Scientists

Museuмs serʋe as a testaмent to the progress huмanity has мade oʋer мillennia, showcasing the innoʋations and adʋanceмents that haʋe led us to our present state. Howeʋer,…

Unconditional Love: Strange Mouth Baby Having Adorable Smile Like Angel

A heartwarming and extraordinary story has captured the attention of people worldwide—a baby born with a permanent smile due to a rare condition that affects just 14…

In Patagonia, a two-headed colossus has been discovered

The presence of giants is supported by several pieces of evidence and testimony. You may, however, have never heard anything like this before. Let me present you…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *