Astronomers find INDESTRUCTIBLE asteroid that can smash into Earth | Tech News

Astronomers find INDESTRUCTIBLE asteroid that can smash into Earth

An asteroid, no more than a pile of rubble, is extremely hard to destroy. Astronomers believe that if the Earth were ever to face the threat of being struck by it, defending our planet would be impossible.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jan 27 2023, 19:15 IST
5 Massive asteroids zooming towards Earth in coming days! Check speed, distance, more
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1/5 Asteroid 2023 AE1: It is a bus-sized asteroid of 40 foot and is travelling towards Earth at a great speed of 19944 kilometers per hour. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has alerted about the same and has informed that it will make its closest approach to planet Earth on Sunday, January 22, at a distance of 1450000 kilometers. (Bloomberg)
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2/5 Asteroid 2019 BO2: Another asteroid that will be zooming towards our planet is 2019 BO2. NASA has informed that it is 67 foot in size and will make the closest Earth approach at a distance of 4630000 kilometers on January 24, 2023. The airplane-sized asteroid is travelling at a staggering speed of 58356 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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3/5 Asteroid 2019 BZ4: NASA has warned that a 62 foot house sized asteroid named 2019 BZ4 will be nearing Earth on January 24. According to the research organisation, the asteroid is travelling at a speed of 20160 kilometers per hour. The asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at a distance of 6320000 kilometers per hour. (Wikimedia Commons)
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4/5 Asteroid 2023 AQ1: January 25 will be witnessing a massive 170 foot asteroid racing towards planet Earth. This airplane sized asteroid will make its closest approach to the planet at a distance of 3910000 kilometers at a mind numbing speed of 56556 kilometers per hour. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Asteroid 2023 AP1: The 85 foot asteroid will make its closest Earth approach at a distance of 3910000 kilometers. The asteroid is travelling at a speed of 33768 kilometers per hour and is said to pass by the planet without posing any kind of threat or danger. (Wikimedia Commons)
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Know all about this special category of indestructible asteroids known as rubble-pile asteroid. (Stable Diffusion)

When it comes to defense against asteroids, scientists have some methods that they believe they can rely on. Recently, NASA carried out the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) to see whether a spacecraft colliding with an asteroid can push it away. Another method includes using nuclear weapons to destroy an asteroid. However, astronomers have discovered a class of asteroids, which are indestructible. This means if the Earth ever came face to face with this type of asteroids, a devastating strike is almost inevitable.

According to a report published by EurekAlert, the study conducted by an international team of researchers led by the Curtin University in Australia involved study of three dust particles collected from the surface of 500-meter asteroid named, Itokawa, returned to Earth by the Japanese Space Agency's Hayabusa 1 probe. It was revealed that Itokawa is a rubble-pile asteroid, meaning it will act like a cushion when anyone tries to destroy it and can withstand or absorb almost any force applied against it.

The indestructible asteroid

The 500-meters wide asteroid Itokava has an interesting story. It was formed 4.2 billion years ago and despite constant bombardment by other asteroids, it has remained entirely intact. The reason behind its durability is that it is not a single piece of rock but a huge collection of dust and small pebble sized rocks. As a result, no matter what hits it, it is capable of spreading the impact force across its entire surface, almost like a spongy pillow, and quickly regaining its shape afterwards.

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So, if one such asteroid was threatening to hit the Earth and it were struck by a nuclear weapon or a NASA DART-esque spacecraft, it will almost certainly be ineffective against it.

This is still not the worst part of this new revelation. The scientists involved in the study have stated that this rubble-pile type of asteroid is quite common across the asteroid belt and near-Earth than any other type. So, if an asteroid attempts to strike the Earth, it will likely be this.

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First Published Date: 27 Jan, 19:14 IST
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