Ancient asteroids are covered with popcorning pebbles, new study finds


In 2019, when NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft approached the asteroid Bennu, scientists noticed one thing beautiful within the photographs beamed again to Earth. The floor of the house rock wasn’t calm — as a substitute, swarms of marble-sized rocks had been popcorning off the asteroid. 

Now, a brand new examine of a meteorite that landed on Earth reveals how this asteroid exercise happens. Small collisions can dislodge the pebbles, which shoot off the asteroid however fall again, drawn in by the house rock’s gravitational pull. Another collision can then smush the unfastened pebbles again collectively, making a sort of cement of minerals from throughout the asteroid’s floor. 

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