A distant Asteroid Behind the force of gravity Tuesday Seen in more detail than ever before, and reveals a surprising resemblance to the close – which raises some interesting questions about the ancient appearance of the object.
The asteroid in question, is called (101429) 1998 VF31, Is part of a group of Trojan meteorites that share the orbit of Mars.
Trojans are celestial bodies They fall on the gravitationally equilibrium areas of space adjacent to other planets, which are located 60 degrees back and forth on the planet.
(101429) 1998 VF31 (hereinafter referred to as ‘101429’) Interestingly, 101429 is unique among the Red Planet’s backward Trojans (following Mars as it orbits the Sun).
All the rest of the group called the L5 Mars Trojans are called the Eureka family, 5261 Eureka – The first Martian Trojan discovered – and small fragments believed to be loose from their parent space rock.
101429 is different, and a New study Led by astronomers from the Armac Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) in Northern Ireland, the researchers wanted to explore why.
Using a spectrograph called the X-shooter on the European Southern Laboratory’s 8-m Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile, it studied how sunlight in the Eureka family reflects 101429 and its L5 relatives. It seems that 101429 and Eureka are not related, and the analysis revealed by 101429 shows a spectral match for a satellite very close to home.
“The spectrum of this particular asteroid looks almost like a dead-ringer to certain parts of the moon, where there is an exposed bedroom like crater interiors and mountains.” Explains AOP astronomer Kalin Borisov.
Although it is not yet certain why, researchers believe that the origin of this Mars Trojan began somewhere far away from the red planet, with 101429 indicating that it is “a monument to the original solid surface of the moon”.
If that is true, how did it end up as a Trojan associated with the long-lost twin Mars?
“The early solar system was very different from where we see it today.” Explains The primary author of the study was AOP astronomer Apostlos Cristo.
“The space between the newly formed planets is full of debris and collisions are common. Large meteorites. [planetesimals] Constantly hitting the moon and other planets. While the planet was still forming and trapped in its Trojan clouds, a sharpening from such a collision may have reached the orbit of Mars. “
This is a fascinating idea, but researchers say it is not the only explanation for 101429’s past. It is also possible that the Trojan instead represents a part of Mars, and that the Red Planet is affected by such an event; Or it could be a common asteroid that looks like the moon, through the meteorological processes of solar radiation.
As the future spacecraft arrives, additional observations with more powerful spectrographs may shed more light on this question of space parenting. The team says, “It gets spectra on Mars or the Moon, on the way to the Trojans, which is directly compared to asteroid data”.
Findings have been reported Icarus.