NASA has reported new findings of rogue asteroids in the solar system, making scientists rethink what is possible pertaining to asteroids. NASA previously believed several environmental chemistry standards were needed for asteroids to form and that asteroids born in these regions, could not escape them without their destruction.
The asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter, is considered the birthing ground of the solar system’s asteroids. It was further believed that these asteroids formed relatively in place. In the 1980’s, NASA scientists had identified 10,000 asteroids, with the conclusion that warmer temperature asteroids formed closer to the sun and colder temperature asteroids formed farther from the sun. This theory works to support their hypothesis that these asteroids formed relatively in place.
Since the 80’s, astronomers have identified over hundreds of thousands of asteroids in the asteroid belt, accompanied by startling new evidence that goes against NASA’s previous asteroid theories. NASA found multiple “rogue” asteroids that have warm temperatures but are located in environments where cold temperate asteroids were expected. The same can be said for cold temperature asteroids, that were found in areas of the asteroid belt expected to have warm temperatures. These discoveries operate as evidence, illustrating the asteroid belt is much more diverse than previously expected by NASA astronomers. It is largely now believed, that the planets have moved repeatedly through the history of the solar system, working as a snowball effect on the asteroid belt. Jupiter, one of the planets bordering the asteroid belt, is known to have the largest gravitational pull, becoming likely the most responsible for the asteroid belts movement.
With NASA astronomers finding the solar system full of rogue asteroids, a new asteroid paradigm will be under investigation, allowing for the snow-globe hypothesis to be tested. Simulations ran on computers, known as dynamical models, simulate the behavior of thousands or even millions of asteroids over time. Scientists will be able to identify how the solar system might have evolved, how the giant gas planets might have migrated, and how their migrations could have affected the dispersions of different types of asteroids.
The computerized dynamic models have allowed scientists to believe the asteroid phenomenon is directly connected with the resonance an asteroid has with its nearest gas giant. What is believed here, is that while Jupiter completes one rotation around the sun, an asteroid will sometimes complete two orbits around the Sun in the same period. When the asteroid is later met by Jupiter’s gravitational pull it has a snow globe affect on the asteroid, causing its displacement within the solar system. It is now believed, that Jupiter has drifted closer to the Sun, bringing some of the asteroids with it that have formulated in its previous area farther from the Sun.
The asteroid findings are just one of many of the recently developed stories by NASA, regarding the solar system. With commercial moon visits and landing a man on the moon, seemingly being accomplished in our life time, it is an exciting time for human space exploration. With the solar system being full of rogue asteroids, news about the asteroid belt can be expected from NASA over the coming weeks.
By Zane Foley