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A group of researchers said in the July 14 issue of the Science Advances magazine that the first asteroids in the Universe were rather muddy and not rocky.
The results can solve certain enigmas about the composition of the meteorites found on Earth, and can also explain why asteroids are different from comets, writes Science News.
Most of the knowledge about the first solid bodies in our solar system comes from the carbonate meteorite meteorites, which are known to be pieces of the first asteroids. Their chemical composition is similar to that of the sun – with the exception of hydrogen and helium, the chemical compositions of the two bodies are similar.
This similarity suggests that the first asteroids were formed directly from the gas and dust disk that preceded the planets. Also, the composition suggests that these bodies formed in the presence of water and at relatively low temperatures, around 150 degrees.
If the first asteroids had a circumference of more than 20 kilometers – and there is no reason to believe that it is not so – the radioactive elements would have heated the rock more than 150 degrees. Some scientists have suggested that the asteroids were porous, and the water flowing through the pores system cooled the object. But water would have removed certain elements of the rock, altering the sun-like chemical composition.
Philip Bland modeled the compression of these primordial ice and dust globes into solid rock when the idea arose: what if it was not solid rock? “At that moment, nothing had happened to force these particles together to turn into solid rock.”
Bland specified that the radioactive elements would have heated the body, leading to the melting of the ice and the transformation of the heavenly object into a muddy globe. The cloud would suspend sedimentary particles, so they could not be removed from the water. As a result of the modeling, the researchers found that these celestial bodies strengthened with the passage of time.
The study is also relevant to understanding the differences between asteroids and comets.
Comets, which have more ice and tend to be farther away from the sun, later formed into the history of the solar system, where there was less available radioactive heat.
The model also showed that some asteroids are muddy throughout the volume, while others develop a solid core.
The last result can also describe larger bodies, like small planets as Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt.