New observations in Asteroid (16) PsychologyWith a diameter of 200 km, it was possible to obtain detailed maps of its surface, revealing vast areas rich in metals.
In recent years, the asteroid Psyche has attracted scientists with its high metal content, a feature that suggests it may be the primitive core of a primitive planet in the Solar System.
Los Recent studies Although the amount of gold, platinum and other elements is low, it has been found that the content of the metal is mainly iron and nickel.
According to NASA scientist Lindy Ellins-Tanton, only iron is enough. $ 10 trillion (A 1, 19 zeros), which is 100,000 times the world economy (approximately $ 100 trillion by 2022, According to statistics).
Now, new research has been published thanks to a series of observations made using telescopes in Chile. Journal of Geophysical Research: PlanetsThe surface of the psyche shows that it has amazingly different characteristics.
The surface of the asteroid, in detail
Direct photography is not possible due to the distance and size of the asteroid. To find out how it works, scientists often study the sunlight that reflects it at infrared wavelengths.
Instead, using the combined power of 66 radio antennas (66 radio antennas) of the Atacama Large millimeter array, at a resolution of 35 km per pixel, the team behind the new study was able to see the psyche in unprecedented detail.Alma) In northern Chile.
Each ALMA antenna measures the light emitted by an object using radio waves in millimeters, within a range that is sensitive to temperature and certain electrical properties of surface objects.
In doing so, they were able to produce detailed maps of the psyche’s surface, showing that the front of the asteroid may have been covered. A variety of materials.
This video shows two maps: on the left, materials that resist temperature variation from sandy areas (purple) to rocky areas (yellow); On the right, the abundance of metals, from low content (purple) areas to high content (yellow) notes.
In general, the researchers confirmed that the surface of the psyche is rich in metals, but the abundance of metals and silicates varies throughout its surface.
Reveals the secrets of psychology
These new maps hint at the asteroid’s history: its rocks may be the remains of an ancient mantle similar to the outermost rocks of Earth, Mars, and the asteroid Vesta, or traces of past impacts from space rocks.
Meanwhile, metallic craters support the idea suggested by previous studies that the asteroid may have experienced Early metal lava eruptions Its ancient core cooled.
“The surface of psychology is very diverse,” he says A statement Severio Cambioni is the lead author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (EAPS).With).
“This is an expanded surface, and these maps confirm that metal-rich asteroids are fun and mysterious worlds,” he adds.
In August of this year, NASA will launch a spacecraft This space rock is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
“Pools” on the surface
As the asteroid orbited, the team also found material beneath a large crater The temperature changes Much faster than the edge material.
This indicates that the floor of the crater is covered with “pools” covered with fine material such as earth sand, which heats up rapidly, while crater rims are made of rocky and slowly warming material.
“Small asteroids have pools of fine matter, whose gravity is low enough to shake the surface and collect fine particles,” says Cambioni.
“But psychology is a big body, so if there are subtle things that accumulate at the bottom of depression, It’s fun Something mysterious“, Ends.
With information from MIT and NASA
In an earlier edition of this article, it was stated that Psyche is worth 100 times the value of the global economy, but this equation is based on a misinterpretation of the Statistical Report.
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