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Bad news! The destruction of THIS type of asteroid is very difficult

Destroying an asteroid on its way to Earth could prove to be a very difficult task, a study finds.

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if an asteroid were on a collision course with Earth, NASA already has the answer for you. The space agency conducted its first planetary defense test alongside the DART mission last year by slamming a spacecraft into an oncoming asteroid to divert it from its course. It was a $330 million venture that turned out to be a success when the targeted asteroid named Dimorphos veered off its path. While this test was a success, a recent study has thrown a spanner in the works, revealing that deflecting asteroids may be relatively easy, but destroying them is not.

According to a report published by EurekAlert, the study conducted by an international team of researchers led by Australia’s Curtin University included a study of three dust particles collected from the surface of the 500-meter-high asteroid named Itokawa, which was sent by Japanese spaceflight to the earth has returned. The Agency’s Hayabusa 1 probe. It was revealed that Itokawa was hard to destroy and resistant to impact – it would be like hitting a sponge with a bat.

Professor Fred Jourdan, lead author of the study and director of the Western Australian Argon Isotope Facility at the university revealed that the Itokawa is almost as old as the solar system and is not a single rock, but belongs to the family of rubble. is made of loose boulders and rocks.

Jourdan said, “Unlike monolithic asteroids, Itokawa is not a single clump of rock, but belongs to the family of rubble, meaning it is made entirely of loose boulders and rocks, almost half of which is empty space.”

The dust particles have been studied using two techniques. One is Electron Backscattered Diffraction, which was used to determine if the asteroid has ever been startled by a meteor impact. The other technique, known as argon-argon dating, is a radiometric dating method to date any asteroid impacts.

“Basically, we found that Itokawa is like a giant space cushion and very hard to destroy,” Jourdan further added. All is not lost though, there is a silver lining to the story.

Co-author Associate Professor Nick Timms, also from Curtin’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, said: “The good news is that we can also use this information to our advantage – if an asteroid is detected too late for a kinetic push, we can then possibly use a more aggressive approach, such as using the shock wave from a nearby nuclear detonation to push a mess asteroid off course without destroying it.


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