Asteroids Are Way Stronger Than Initially Believed: Why Can’t They Just Break?

We’ve all seen at least one of those movies in which an incoming asteroid could destroy a planet, and a hero gets launched in the space in order to get rid of it. However, it might be hard to break the asteroids – harder than we initially thought. A Johns Hopkins study saw a new understanding of a rock fracture. They are trying to see better how they can break up an asteroid or, at least, how they can avoid the path of a possible asteroid.

The findings are going to be published in the 15th of March print issue of Icarus. They can help in better understanding the asteroid impact and all of the deflection strategies. It can also help in understanding the way our solar system formed, and it can design the asteroid mining efforts.

The larger the object, the easier the target

We initially thought that, if the object was larger, it could be easier to break, because bigger objects come with many flaws. However, it was now showed that asteroids are way stronger than we used to think and that there needs to be more energy if we want it broken.

The scientists understand all the physical material, such as rocks that are the size of the fist, but it’s hard to apply this understanding to objects like asteroids, that can have the size of a city.

In 2000, a study has created a model on the computer, in which they added various aspects, such as temperature, mass, the brittleness of the material, and then simulated an asteroid – that had a kilometer in diameter – striking into a 25-kilometer target asteroid, at an impact of 5 kilometers per second. The result of the study showed that the target asteroid could get completely destroyed in the impact.


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Meagan Kozlovs

About the Author: Meagan Kozlovs

Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto  and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.

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