General, Research, Technology

Scientists were able to reveal the entire history of the asteroid 2018 LA that fell to Earth

In 2018 on the territory of the African desertThe Kalahari asteroid 2018 LA, which was only 2-3 meters in diameter, fell. It disintegrated into many small particles and so far scientists have found 23 fragments, the largest of which weighs 92 grams. Researchers began to observe its movement long before the fall, which is very rare and opens up many opportunities for researchers to make interesting discoveries. Thanks to the observations made in advance, scientists managed to look into the distant past of the fallen asteroid - they learned where and how it formed in space 22 million years ago. We will tell you how scientists managed to look into such a distant past and what interesting things they could learn about a space object. This happens very rarely, so the results of scientific work are definitely worthy of your attention.

The moment of the fall of the asteroid 2018 LA

Asteroid History 2018 LA

The next achievement of scientists was described inscientific publication Science Alert. For the first time, scientists discovered an asteroid as part of the Catalina Sky Survey program, the essence of which is to track space objects that are potentially dangerous to our planet. The diameter of the asteroid was estimated at only a few meters, which does not pose a particular threat to us. However, the researchers could not ignore the object and continued to monitor it. According to the director of the aforementioned program Eric Christensen (Eric Christensen), tracking small objects in space improves their skills in detecting asteroids.

Part of asteroid 2018 LA

In the course of further study, the researchers came toto the conclusion that the asteroid belongs to the Howardite Eucrite Diogenite (HED) type. This means that it is composed of the minerals howardite, eucrite and diogenite. By finding out the approximate composition of the object, scientists were able to find out exactly where it was formed. According to scientists, the object originated in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, where Vesta is also located - the only asteroid that can be observed from Earth with the naked eye.

Other fragments of asteroid 2018 LA

On the surface of Vesta with a diameter of 525 kilometersthere is an impact crater Antony. Judging by the composition of asteroid 2018 LA and its trajectory, it was formed just at the moment of impact on the surface of Vesta. Previously, scientists have already found out that Antony's crater was formed about 22 million years ago. That is, the asteroid 2018 LA is the same age, that is, it is very ancient. Most likely, its found fragments are now kept in museums or personal collections of space lovers. The fact that in the hands of people is something that was formed millions of years ago is impressive. However, if you go outside and touch the Earth, you will touch an object that was formed billions of years ago.

Asteroid Vesta

Asteroid History 2008 TC3

According to a senior researcher at the InstituteSETI by Peter Jenniskens, this is just the second time they managed to spot an asteroid before it hit Earth. The first was the 2008 TC3 space object, which fell into the African Republic of Sudan years earlier. It is also an asteroid of the HED type, that is, it consists of the aforementioned howardite, eucrite and diogenite. Like asteroid 2018 LA, it posed no particular danger to our planet.

3D model of asteroid 2008 TC3

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But scientists also know asteroids, the fall of whichcan be a terrible disaster. One of the most dangerous of them is Apophis, whose diameter is 300 meters. Its fall can lead to the onset of pitch darkness associated with smoke and dust rising upward. And if sunlight cannot penetrate through this barrier, it is not far before the onset of many years of winter. You can read more about the asteroid Apophis at this link. He approached our planet already in 2029 ...