In an attempt to decode the mystery behind forces that are supporting the near-Earth asteroid from splitting apart and affecting our planet, the researchers at UT have conducted a detailed study.
According to the researchers, the study was important as it allowed them to understand the near-Earth asteroid and the massive asteroid impact on the Earth.
While studying the near-Earth asteroid ‘1950 DA’, the UT scientists found the body was rotating at a faster pace compared to the breakup limit for its density that it defies gravity. The researchers say this body has been held firm by the van der Waals, the interparticle cohesive forces which were never detected before in an asteroid.
1950 DA effectively witnesses negative gravity at its equator due to fast rotation, researchers explain.
Giving the example of astronauts, the researchers explain the pace of rotation and its effect. They say:
If astronauts were made to stand on this surface, they would not be able to do so due to the speedy rotation. They would rather fly off into space unless they are not anchored.
Concluding the study, the researchers said that the study findings provided crucial information about the asteroids and helped as in understanding the pros and cons of our efforts that aim at protecting the Earth from an asteroid impact.
Some potential techniques, like use of a kinetic impactor, could help in exacerbating the effects of asteroid impact. A kinetic impactor helps in deploying a massive object on a collision course with the asteroid.
“The weak cohesive forces, which are holding one of these asteroids together, can result into a very small impulse result in a complete disruption,” said Ben Rozitis, a postdoctoral researcher.
Findings of the study were published in the science journal Nature.
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