How the Sun Affects Asteroids in Our Neighborhood

Asia's Tech News Daily

How the Sun Affects Asteroids in Our Neighborhood

Asteroids embody the story of our solar system’s beginning. Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, which orbit the Sun on the same path as the gas giant, are no exception. The Trojans are thought to be left over from the objects that eventually formed our planets, and studying them might offer clues about how the solar system came to be.

Over the next 12 years, NASA’s Lucy mission will visit eight asteroids – including seven Trojans – to help answer big questions about planet formation and the origins of our solar system. It will take the spacecraft about three and a half years to reach its first destination. What might Lucy find?

Like all the planets, asteroids exist in the heliosphere, the vast bubble of space defined by the reaches of our Sun’s wind. Directly and indirectly, the Sun affects many aspects of existence within this pocket of the universe. Here are a few of the ways the Sun influences asteroids like the Trojans in our solar system.

Place in Space
The Sun makes up 99.8% of the solar system’s mass and exerts a strong gravitational force as a result. In the case of the Trojan asteroids that Lucy will visit, their very location in space is dictated in part by the Sun’s gravity. They are clustered at two Lagrange points. These are locations where the gravitational forces of two massive objects – in this case the Sun and Jupiter – are balanced in such a way that smaller objects like asteroids or satellites stay put relative to the larger bodies. The Trojans lead and follow Jupiter in its orbit by 60 at Lagrange points L4 and L5.

Pushing Asteroids Around (with Light!)
That’s right, sunlight can move asteroids! Like Earth and many other objects in space, asteroids rotate. At any given moment, the Sun-facing side of an asteroid absorbs sunlight while the dark side sheds energy as heat. When the heat escapes, it creates an infinitesimal amount of thrust, pushing the asteroid ever so slightly off its course. Over millions of years, this force, called the Yarkovsky effect, can noticeably alter the trajectory of smaller asteroids (those less than 25 miles, or about 40 kilometers, in diameter).

Similarly, sunlight can also alter the rotation rate of small asteroids. This effect, known as YORP (named for four scientists whose work contributed to the discovery), affects asteroids in different ways depending on their size, shape, and other characteristics. Sometimes, YORP causes small bodies to spin faster until they break apart. Other times, it may cause their rotation rates to slow.

The Trojans are farther from the Sun than the near-Earth or Main Belt asteroids we’ve studied before, and it remains to be seen how the Yarkovsky effect and YORP affect them.

Shaping the Surface
Just like rocks on Earth show signs of weathering, so too do rocks in space, including asteroids. When rocks warm up during the day, they expand. As they cool down, they contract. Over time, this fluctuation causes cracks to form. The process is called thermal fracturing. The phenomenon is more intense on objects without atmospheres, such as asteroids, where temperatures vary wildly. Therefore, even though the Trojans are farther from the Sun than rocks on Earth, they’ll likely show more signs of thermal fracturing.

The lack of atmosphere has another implication for asteroid weathering: Asteroids are battered by the solar wind, a steady stream of particles, magnetic fields, and radiation that flows from the Sun. For the most part, Earth’s magnetic field protects us from this bombardment. Particles that do get through can excite molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in auroras. Without magnetic fields or atmospheres of their own, asteroids receive the brunt of the solar wind. When incoming particles strike an asteroid, they can kick some material off into space, changing the fundamental chemistry of what’s left behind.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

Elon Musk: SpaceX faces possible bankruptcy because of engine woes

SpaceX founder Elon Musk told his employees the space company faces a “genuine risk of bankruptcy” because of its struggles in developing its engine for its Starship flights. In an ... Read more »

Russia's Prichal module docks at ISS

Russia’s new docking module Prichal on Friday successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian space agency Roscosmos said. The new addition to the ISS completed an automated ... Read more »

Rocket Lab Announces Neutron Development Update to be Provided on December 2, 2021

Rocket Lab USA will provide the first major update on the development of the Neutron launch vehicle on December 2, 2021 at 8:00 am EST. The virtual event will be ... Read more »

Thales Alenia Space invests in advanced technology for human space flight

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales 67% and Leonardo 33%, has inaugurated a new Friction Stir Welding facility at one of its production sites in Turin, which will ... Read more »

Prototype SETI hardware gets first data from VLA

A system designed to provide data from the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) for analysis in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has successfully acquired ... Read more »

Russia's new docking module arrives at ISS

The five-ton Prichal docking module arrived at the International Space Station at 10:19 a.m. EST, propelled by a modified Russian Progress propulsion compartment. They docked to the Nauka module on ... Read more »

Gaia reveals that most Milky Way companion galaxies are newcomers to our corner of space

Data from ESA’s Gaia mission is re-writing the history of our galaxy, the Milky Way. What had traditionally been thought of as satellite galaxies to the Milky Way are now ... Read more »

Eagle professor's space debris removal device receives patent

An Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University professor and his co-inventors patented a device that provides a workable strategy for combating the problem of debris accumulating in space from defunct satellites. Known as ... Read more »

Pulsar Fusion Demonstrates Green Mach-7 rocket in Switzerland

On Saturday 26 November, In the sleepy mountain town of Gstaad – Switzerland, British company Pulsar Fusion demonstrated its latest green hybrid rocket engine. An impressive visual plume effect of ... Read more »

Apply now to the brand new ESA Junior Professional Programme!

Positions are now open for Junior Professionals! Do you have a strong interest in space? Do you aspire to channel your knowledge, interest and experience into a career in the ... Read more »

Carrier rocket takes off from Sichuan province

China launched a Long March 3B carrier rocket early on Saturday morning to send a communication satellite into space, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, the country’s leading ... Read more »

NASA and industry embrace laser communications

Our televisions and computer screens display news, movies, and shows in high-definition, allowing viewers a clear and vibrant experience. Fiber optic connections send laser light densely packed with data through ... Read more »

New opportunities to study ions in space

Comets have an environment of plasma which contains a large number of ions with low energies. It is necessary to understand these low-energy ions’ properties in order to understand the ... Read more »

Study suggests Sun is likely an unaccounted source of the Earth's water

Curtin University researchers have helped unravel the enduring mystery of the origins of the Earth’s water, finding the Sun to be a surprising likely source. A University of Glasgow-led international ... Read more »

Astronomers discover ancient brown dwarf with lithium deposits intact

A team of researchers at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica (INAOE), Mexico, has discovered lithium in the oldest and ... Read more »

In the quantum realm, not even time flows as you might expect

A team of physicists at the Universities of Bristol, Vienna, the Balearic Islands and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI-Vienna) has shown how quantum systems can simultaneously ... Read more »

Russia launches new docking module to ISS

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying the new Prichal docking module for the International Space Station blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, the Roscosmos space agency said. ... Read more »

Orbital harmony limits late arrival of water on TRAPPIST-1 planets

Seven Earth-sized planets orbit the star TRAPPIST-1 in near-perfect harmony, and U.S. and European researchers have used that harmony to determine how much physical abuse the planets could have withstood ... Read more »

FCC Validates SES Phase I Accelerated C-band Clearing and Relocation Certification

SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions, announces the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has validated the certification of SES’s Phase I accelerated C-band clearing and relocation activities, a ... Read more »

Astroscale space debris removal leaders announce series F raises $109 million

Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”), the market leader in satellite servicing and long-term orbital sustainability across all orbits, today announced it closed its Series F round with additional funding of U.S. ... Read more »

New possibilities for life at the bottom of Oceanic Worlds

In the strange, dark world of the ocean floor, underwater fissures, called hydrothermal vents, host complex communities of life. These vents belch scorching hot fluids into extremely cold seawater, creating ... Read more »

Doing photon upconversion a solid-Crystals that convert light to more useful wavelengths

Solid-solution organic crystals have been brought into the quest for superior photon upconversion materials, which transform presently wasted long-wavelength light into more useful shorter wavelength light. Scientists from Tokyo Institute ... Read more »

Mom and daughter bound for space after winning Virgin Galactic prize

A health coach from Antigua and Barbuda has won two tickets worth almost $1 million to be among Virgin Galactic’s first space tourists — and plans to take the trip ... Read more »

ISRO rife with speculation about human space mission centre, IN-SPACe shift

With speculations and rumours abounding on shifting of its human space mission centre and the headquarters of private sector space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe), officials ... Read more »

Rocket industrial park put into operation in Wuhan

The China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC) said that it completed the construction of an intelligent satellite production line and a rocket industrial park in the central Chinese ... Read more »

Tianzhou cargo craft to help advance science

Chinese scientists, researchers and engineers now have the opportunity to use the country’s robotic cargo spacecraft to carry out experiments and tests, according to the China Manned Space Agency. The ... Read more »

First LoRa message bounced off the moon

For the first time ever we bounced a LoRa message off the moon on October 5th 2021, using the Dwingeloo radio telescope. This first was achieved by a team consisting ... Read more »

ESA helps Greece to boost its space investments

Ambitious plans to expand the nascent space industry in Greece – enabling the digital transformation of society while creating jobs and generating prosperity – have received a fillip from ESA. ... Read more »

Testing confirms Webb Telescope on track for targeted Dec 22 lLaunch

Engineering teams have completed additional testing confirming NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is ready for flight, and launch preparations are resuming toward Webb’s target launch date of Wednesday, Dec. 22, ... Read more »

New holographic camera sees the unseen with high precision

Northwestern University researchers have invented a new high-resolution camera that can see the unseen – including around corners and through scattering media, such as skin, fog or potentially even the ... Read more »

Salvaging rare earth elements from electronic waste

Manufacturers rely on rare earth elements, like neodymium, to create strong magnets used in motors for electronics including hybrid cars, aircraft generators, loudspeakers, hard drives and in-ear headphones. But mineral ... Read more »

Chile: Copper, quakes and inequality

Long considered a Latin American paragon of stability and growth, Chile has been in turmoil for the last two years since protests pushed the country to scrap its dictatorship-era constitution. ... Read more »

Catching asteroid deflection mission's first words

When NASA’s DART spacecraft launches on 24 November on a world-first mission to deflect an asteroid, ESA’s Estrack network will play a vital role – finding, tracking and maintaining contact ... Read more »

Researchers recreate deep-Earth conditions to see how iron copes with extreme stress

Far below you lies a sphere of solid iron and nickel about as wide as the broadest part of Texas: the Earth’s inner core. The metal at the inner core ... Read more »

Daughter of first American in space on next Blue Origin flight

Sixty years after her father’s historic flight, she too will cross the final frontier: Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of the first American in space Alan Shepard, will be one of ... Read more »

DARPA focusing on biomanufacturing to B-SURE

The DoD has a role in orbital and lunar missions as defined by the US Space Force (USSF) Space Capstone Publication. In this document, USSF notes the “inherent value of ... Read more »

Pulsar demonstrates green, high power rocket engine

Pulsar Fusion Ltd, a UK nuclear fusion company based in Bletchley, has just developed and tested its first launch capable, high-power chemical rocket engine in the UK. These rocket engines ... Read more »

Russia creates debris field near ISS

On November 15, 2021, the International Space Station (ISS) Flight Control team was notified of indications of a satellite breakup that may create sufficient debris to pose a collision threat ... Read more »

ESA Boost! contract for flight demonstration of Spectrum launch vehicle

Small and medium satellites can expect new launch opportunities on the Spectrum launch vehicle thanks to an ESA Boost! co-funding contract worth euro 11 m with Isar Aerospace Technologies in ... Read more »

UVA researchers advance bioprinting

Minecraft is one of the world’s best-selling video games, with 126 million active players across the globe. In the 3D-mosaic world of Minecraft, everything – animals, houses, even the sun ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic