Large asteroids are much more stable and therefore more difficult to destroy than they are supposed to. This is what the Johns Hopkins University researchers have calculated, correcting a hypothesis that was developed more than ten years ago using a computer model. This had suggested that asteroids would be easier to break as they grew, because they had more and more structural defects. An improved model, according to researchers around Charles El Mir, shows exactly the opposite.
More details change the result
As scientists explain, it is still difficult to model objects the size of an asteroid. In the early 2000s, a research team simulated a one-kilometer asteroid in an asteroid of 25 kilometers to five kilometers per second. According to their results, the great should be completely destroyed. With more accurate data and a much more detailed model, the simulation was performed again.
Now it is possible to simulate processes in a much smaller scope and, above all, be able to include the limited speed of cracks resulting in the asteroid. According to this, millions of people would make such a collision and parts of the asteroid will flow like sand. All in all, such an asteroid would not break or burst into a rock mass.
Instead, its core would remain stable and contract the rest with its gravity in a few hours. Because the asteroid would not be completely torn, it would still be very stable. Destroying it would therefore require much more energy than had long been hypothesized.
Preparation for possible collision
Their work sounds like science fiction, the researchers admit, but it can have real consequences. It should be really big The asteroid will be on a collision course with the land, the question will be whether to try to distract it or destroy it. If one then begs for destruction, then it would be essential to know how much energy would be needed.