Internewscast
Image default
News World News

Asteroids Ryugu and Bennu may be chunks of the same giant space rock

The asteroids Ryugu and Bennu which orbit between Earth and Mars formed after a much larger rock was split apart, scientists have claimed.

Mathematical modelling suggests the pair – measuring 3,280-foot and 1,610-foot in diameter – formed after two centres of gravity were created.

But rock pulled from both will need to be tested to confirm the theory.

Samples from Ryugu are already onboard Japan‘s Hayabusa2 spacecraft and expected to touchdown on Earth in late 2020.

And NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is scheduled to land on its suspected-sister by October 20, to collect further samples which will also be flown to Earth.

Ryugu asteroid pictured in space

Ryugu asteroid pictured in space

Bennu asteroid

Bennu asteroid

Mathematical modelling revealed Ryugu (left) and Bennu (right) may have formed from a larger asteroid that broke apart

The model showed after an asteroid shattered its pieces came together at two points

The model showed after an asteroid shattered its pieces came together at two points

The model showed after an asteroid shattered its pieces came together at two points

It was based on observations of asteroids in the Mars-Jupiter belt, where Bennu and Ryugu may have originated

It was based on observations of asteroids in the Mars-Jupiter belt, where Bennu and Ryugu may have originated

It was based on observations of asteroids in the Mars-Jupiter belt, where Bennu and Ryugu may have originated

Astronomers at the University of Arizona and Laboratoire Lagrange, Ivory Coast, modelled collisions in the Mars-Jupiter asteroid belt before making the proposal.

Their study, published in Nature Communications, showed fragments are ejected but then re-accumulate into a spinning-top shape – like that of both asteroids. 

They also noted a difference in hydration between the possible-siblings, but said this did not discount the proposed relationship.

The team hopes to be able to measure the composition and age of formation of the samples from both asteroids to confirm their theory.

OSIRIS-REx has beamed images of Bennu’s rocky surface back to Earth, revealing the barren lunar surface.

The pictures show its chosen landing site – dubbed ‘Nightingale’ – which is located in a crater high up the asteroids northern hemisphere.

The spacecraft will cut chunks 0.8 inches in diameter from the asteroid before beginning the journey home. 

NASA has sent pictures of Bennu back to Earth. The image above shows the proposed landing site on the asteroid for its spacecraft OSIRIS-REx

NASA has sent pictures of Bennu back to Earth. The image above shows the proposed landing site on the asteroid for its spacecraft OSIRIS-REx

NASA has sent pictures of Bennu back to Earth. The image above shows the proposed landing site on the asteroid for its spacecraft OSIRIS-REx

OSIRIS-REx will collect small (less than 0.8 inches in diameter) rocks from the surface before beginning the journey back to Earth. (Artists impression)

OSIRIS-REx will collect small (less than 0.8 inches in diameter) rocks from the surface before beginning the journey back to Earth. (Artists impression)

OSIRIS-REx will collect small (less than 0.8 inches in diameter) rocks from the surface before beginning the journey back to Earth. (Artists impression)

Hayabusa2, not to be outdone, sent images of Ryugu’s lunar-surface back to Earth in February.

Its pictures revealed reddening in some of the rocks, leading scientists at the University of Tokyo to conclude that it once passed much closer to the sun.

‘Immediately after touchdown, Hayabusa2’s thrusters disturbed dark, fine grains that originate from the redder materials,’ wrote planetary scientist Tomokatsu Morota of the University of Tokyo and colleagues in their paper,

‘The stratigraphic relationship between identified craters and the redder material indicates that surface reddening occurred over a short period of time.’

‘We suggest that Ryugu previously experienced an orbital excursion near the Sun.’  

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft has captured this picture of Ryugu's surface. It revealed reddened rocks, which suggests at one point the asteroid may have passed near the Sun

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft has captured this picture of Ryugu's surface. It revealed reddened rocks, which suggests at one point the asteroid may have passed near the Sun

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft has captured this picture of Ryugu’s surface. It revealed reddened rocks, which suggests at one point the asteroid may have passed near the Sun

Ryugu

Scientific number: 162173

Discovery date: 10 May 1999 by astronomers in Socorro, New Mexico

Name: It refers to a magical underwater palace in Japanese folklore

Size: 3,280-foot in diameter

Shape: Spinning-top 

Orbit: Around the sun between Earth and Mars once every 16 months

Danger to Earth: Not at present 

Visited?: Yes

Visit description: Hayabusa2 arrived in June 2018. It has now left and is returning to Earth 

 

Advertisement

Bennu

Scientific number: 101955

Discovery date: 11 September 1999 by astronomers in Socorro, New Mexico

Name: Bird in Egyptian myth linked to the sun, creation and re-birth

Size: 1,610-foot in diameter

Shape: Spinning-top

Orbit: Around the sun between Earth and Mars

Danger to Earth?: Yes. Crosses our planet’s orbit. Eight potential Earth impacts are predicted between 2169 and 2199. It will pass near Earth in 2060.

Visited?: No

Visits planned?: Yes. OSIRIS-REx is expected to touch down this month. 

Source: Daily Mail – Articles

Related posts

Leave a Comment