Saturday , June 19 2021

Asteroids are stronger than we thought. Do we have a chance against them?

New parameters in computer simulation reveal greater durability of spatial pilgrims.

A popular subject of various studies or catastrophic films are potentially dangerous asteroids that can cause significant damage to the Earth.

These considerations also include possible solutions to prevent a potential disaster. However, they do not have precise quantification, because, in fact, a similar situation has not yet happened. So far, they have always been based on theoretical models and computer simulations.

However, a recent study by scientists at Johns Hopkins University found that defense of asteroids would be more complicated than previous calculations.

The study published a scientific journal Icarus.

The smaller asteroid completely destroyed the larger one

For now, laboratories are practically exploring the smaller rocks that are about the size of a human fist. However, the application of this knowledge to much larger objects such as asteroids with kilometers of kilometers is very difficult and so far only possible in the theoretical sense.

Some time ago, a scientific group created a computer simulation of two asteroid collisions. In doing so, they used input data such as weight, temperature or fragility of the material.

The results showed that in the frontal impact of a smaller asteroid with mileage and a speed of 5 km / s to greater than 25 km, this target would be completely destroyed.

"So far we thought that the bigger the object, the easier it would be to break, because there is a greater likelihood of errors on larger objects. However, our findings show that asteroids are stronger than we thought and would require more energy to fully we destroy them, "said a co-author of the new study, Charles El Mir.

With new parameters everything else

Now, scientists have used the same scenario, but with a more detailed computer simulation that takes into account the smaller processes that occur during the collision. For example, the previous model did not take into account the limited rate of propagation of the crack.

The whole simulation is divided into two phases. In the first, the immediate effects of the impact, when many cracks and craters occurred, were evaluated. Already at this stage, it turned out that, contrary to the previous study, the entire asteroid will not be interrupted.

The target asteroid remained a major damage to the core, which later developed a strong gravitational effect on the torn parts. This action, the so-called gravitational re-accumulation, was investigated by scientists in the second phase, which included a period of several hours after impact. Since the target asteroid is not completely broken, it retains sufficient strength to surround itself with surrounding remains.

Video: Simulated process of gravitational re-accumulation

(Source: Johns Hopkins University)

Redirect or break

Thus, this study suggests that more power is needed to fully asteroid asteroid, which will create a large cluster of weak fragments, as we have so far anticipated. At the same time, it showed an interesting model that can be used to extract asteroid raw materials.

New knowledge can be used to solve potential threats from outer space. Especially when deciding whether we can divert a potentially dangerous asteroid or completely destroy it. In the latter case, it will help determine the amount of energy that would be needed.

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