distant asteroid Gravitational trailing Mars It has been observed in more detail than ever, and the close-ups show amazing similarities. This raises an interesting question about the ancient origin of the object.
The asteroid in question is (101429) 1998 VF31Is part of a group of Trojan asteroids that share Mars’ orbit.
Trojan horses are celestial bodies It falls into a gravity-balanced area of space near another planet located 60 degrees in front of and behind the planet.
What makes (101429) 1998 VF31 (hereinafter ‘101429’) interesting is that 101429 looks unique among the trailing Trojans on the Red Planet (the Trojan horse behind Mars in which Mars orbits the Sun).
The rest of the group called L5 Martian Trojans all belong to what is known as the Eureka family and 5261 Eureka -The discovery of the first Martian Trojan horse-and small pieces believed to have been released from the parent cosmic rock.
But 101429 is different. New research Researchers, led by astronomers at the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) in Northern Ireland, wanted to investigate why.
Using a spectroscope called X-SHOOTER at the 8m VLT (Very Large Telescope) of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, the team investigated how sunlight reflected off the Eureka family’s 101429 and L5 series. However, it looks like 101429, and the Eureka clan is not relative after all. The analysis result 101429 shows a spectral match for a satellite that is much closer to your home.
“The spectrum of this particular asteroid appears to be hardly ringing for parts of the moon with exposed bedrock like mountains and inside craters.” Explicate AOP astrophysic chemist Galin Borisov.
It’s not yet clear why that’s the case, but researchers say it’s plausible that the origins of this Mars Trojan horse originated far away from the Red Planet, with 101429 representing “a piece of the original solid crust of the Moon.
If that’s true, how did the long-lost twins of the moon become a Trojan horse tied with Mars?
“The early solar system was very different from what we see today.” Explicate Lead author of the study, AOP astronomer Apostolos Christou.
“The space between the newly formed planets was full of debris and collisions were common. Large asteroids [planetesimals] Constantly hitting the moon and other planets. Debris from such a collision may have reached Mars’ orbit when the planet is still forming and trapped in a Trojan horse cloud. “
It’s a fascinating idea, but researchers say this isn’t the only explanation for 101429’s past. A Trojan horse could instead represent a fragment of Mars that was shattered by a similar kind of event affecting Mars. Or it could be an ordinary asteroid that has been made to look like the moon through the weathering process of solar radiation.
More observations with more powerful spectroscopes will be able to shed more light on this cosmic lineage issue, just like future spacecraft visits. Tim says, “On the way to the Trojan, you can get a spectrum from Mars or Moon for direct comparison with asteroid data”.
The findings are Icarus.