The asteroid that crashed in the Kalahari Desert in 2018 has passed through space for 22 million years
A six-ton ââasteroid that entered Earth’s atmosphere and erupted in the skies of Botswana, turning into meteorites across the Kalahari Desert on June 2, 2018, now has its journey traced to its origins, thanks to research recent. Posted in Meteoritics and Planetary Science journal this week, the international research was led by the NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute in the United States, which also involved scientists from the Australian National University (ANU) and Curtin University in Western Australia. In their study, the group of astronomers reconstructed the 22-million-year-old asteroid’s journey through the solar system to study its impact on Earth, the first time a study has accurately predicted a trajectory.
This recent research provides new information on the origins of the solar system, including a better understanding of its second largest asteroid and the only one visible to the naked eye, 4 Vesta.
In their study, the team mapped the asteroid’s one-way trip, called 2018LA, using two of NASA’s dangerous asteroid-hunting telescopes and the ANU SkyMapper telescope, located in New South Wales. . CCTV camera footage also captured the final moments of the asteroid, as it burst into flames and transformed into a fireball crossing the sky before impact.
ANU astronomer, research co-author and associate professor Christian Wolftold ANU website that the asteroid was 1.5 meters in diameter, weighed about 5,700 kg and was traveling at about 60,000 km / h before entering Earth’s atmosphere and crashing into the ground. The meteorite that was created when the asteroid split into parts under the atmospheric friction of the Earth is called Motopi Pan. About 23 fragments of this meteoroid have been recovered from the Kalahari Desert for mineralogical analysis.
Scientists found that Vesta and the meteorite contained zircon grains that date back over 4.5 billion years, when the solar system was in its initial phase. Curtin University astronomer Dr Hadrien Devillepoix told the ANU website that the asteroid 2018LA was ejected from Vesta around 22 million years ago in an impact that formed a crater in the Veneneia de Vesta basin.
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