Menu
Jeff Goldblum Stars in funny GE Link Ad

Jeff Goldblum Stars in funny GE Link Ad

iPhone 6c is possible as iPhone 5c Sales Surge

iPhone 6c is possible as iPhone 5c Sales Surge

Pee-Wee Herman stars in New TV on the Radio Video

Pee-Wee Herman stars in New TV on the Radio Video

Windows 10 Preview Download Release is Today

Windows 10 Preview Download Release is Today

William Shatner and Leonard Nemoy to Star in New Volkswagen e-Golf Commercial

William Shatner and Leonard Nemoy to Star in New Volkswagen e-Golf Commercial

Cosmic Collision sent Chelyabinsk Asteroid Towards Earth

May 26 2014, 3:20am CDT | by , in News | Technology News

Cosmic Collision sent Chelyabinsk Asteroid Towards Earth
 
 

YouTube Videos Comments

Full Story

Cosmic Collision sent Chelyabinsk Asteroid Towards Earth

The Chelyabinsk meteor that exploded over Russia smashed through Earth’s atmosphere on the rebound from a collision with another asteroid in space.

Researchers from Tohoku University in Japan have analysed the debris left behind by the space rock, which caused the second largest asteroid airburst in human history, in an effort to help understand how near-Earth objects (NEOs) could end up on a crash course for our home world.

The scientists found that the rocks left behind by the Chelyabinsk asteroid contained the high-pressure mineral jadeite, which is only formed under extreme pressure and high temperatures. The jadeite was formed under pressures of at least three to 12 gigapascals during a shock that was longer than 70 milliseconds, according to their study.

Using that data, the team were able to figure out that the Chelyabinsk asteroid had to have been smashed off its parent rock by a collision with a much larger space rock – at least 150 metres wide – at a relative speed of around 4,800 kilometres per hour.

null “This impact might have separated the Chelyabinsk asteroid from its parent body and delivered it to the Earth,” said lead researcher Shin Ozawa in the Scientific Reports paper.

If the Earth is ever hit by a larger NEO, it’s likely to be because it was knocked off its usual course, whether by colliding with another space rock or with the gravitational forces caused by another celestial body.

The planet was lucky with the 20m-wide Chelyabinsk asteroid because it was incinerated by the Earth’s atmosphere, leaving just fragments of meteorite to rain down on the town in Siberia in February last year.

Barrelling through the atmosphere at speeds of around 67,000 km/h heated up the asteroid until it exploded, around 30km short of the ground. However, that explosion was still enough to cause shockwaves that blew out windows and damaged buildings, injuring over a thousand people in the process.

The meteorites that survived the fall provide a unique sample for scientists because they actually hit the Earth and their trajectory is well-known.

Ozawa and his team believe that the impact speed shown by the minerals in the meteorites make it likely that the asteroid chunk originated in the main asteroid belt. Because jadeite wouldn’t have survived a second impact, the crash that caused the rock to break was probably the last big bump it ever got, which means it likely happened a staggering 290 million years ago.

However, it likely took a further 280 million years for the asteroid to settle into its place in the asteroid belt, after being shuffled around by the gravitational forces of the asteroids around it and the far off force of Jupiter, which causes the rocks in the belt to group together. This shifting around eventually pushed the asteroid into its Earth-crossing orbit around ten million years ago, for the planet’s second-largest airborne explosion.

The only larger airburst explosion in recorded history was also over Russia and has come to be known as the Tunguska event. Although studies differ on the size of the event, it’s clear that a space rock blew up in the sky near the Tunguska river in 1908, just five to ten kilometres from the ground with an energy around a thousand times greater than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. The power of the Chelyabinsk explosion is estimated at between twenty and thirty times the power of the same bomb.

For more on asteroids and other space rocks, follow me on Twitter and Google +.

 

Updates


Sponsored Update


Advertisement


More From the Web

Shopping Deals

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

 

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Steve Smith on Release From Carolina Panthers: 'It Was Personal'
Steve Smith on Release From Carolina Panthers: 'It Was Personal'
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith opened up about his release from the Carolina Panthers on Charlotte radio station WFNZ on Oct. 1. Smith said, "It was personal" and felt he "was stabbed in the back."
 
 
Jay Z Profiled
Jay Z Profiled
Luckier than the Luckiest Chap on Earth!
 
 
Microsoft teases Windows 10 phone and Xbox interfaces
Microsoft teases Windows 10 phone and Xbox interfaces
Some subtle changes can be seen in the updated interface
 
 
Isla Fisher Pregnant with Third Child with Sacha Baron Cohen
Isla Fisher Pregnant with Third Child with Sacha Baron Cohen
It is a big 24 hours for Celebrity pregnancy news. Now news break that Isla Fisher is pregnant.