Estimating the Mobility of Asteroids through the Cohesive Force of Meteorite Fragments

Recently, research has been done to understand better the cohesive force of meteorite fragments and how asteroids move. Asteroids are the primary component of meteorites that fall to Earth from space. This makes this research essential for understanding the solar system’s early history. These particles provide important insights into the planetary evolutionary and eolian processes and the beginning of planetary creation.

Yuuya Nagaashi and a team of researchers created Allende and Tagish Lake carbonaceous chondrite fragments. They accomplished this by using the centrifugal method for this study. The fragments’ shape was then studied, and their surface structures were revealed using optical microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy. The asteroid particles found during space exploration were surprisingly mobile due to the weaker cohesive force than expected.

In microgravity situations, the cohesive force impacts small bodies and is critical in controlling coagulation processes. The scientists employed atomic force microscopy to highlight the small surface structures of meteorite pieces recovered from Tagish Lake samples. In addition, they used atomic force to demonstrate that the cohesive forces depended on surface characteristics at the sub-micron scale. The increase in cohesive force was seen after the samples were heated. This resulted from the water composition and surface water vapor evaporation.

Scientists have traditionally measured the cohesive force of particles on asteroid surfaces by using van der Waals forces that were proportional to particle size. The total cohesive force for every fragment was lower than anticipated. However, this revealed the particles’ mobility on a small asteroidal body. The Bond number, or the ratio of gravitational to cohesive forces, determined the points at which the particles came into contact.

Nagaashi and his team found that the pressure required to overcome the forces of gravity and adhesion was lower than they had anticipated. This was discovered after they analyzed the movement of particles in a small asteroidal body in more detail. The study’s theoretical conclusions were supported by similar mass transfer evidence on the asteroids Itokawa, Ryugu, and Bennu. The researchers also analyzed asteroids by looking at their surface appearance or topology. This is because the plastic deformation of particles can result in increased cohesive force.

To understand the mobility of asteroids better, Yuuya Nagaashi and colleagues measured the cohesive force of meteorite fragments. Scientists discovered that the asteroid particles had a significantly lower cohesive force than they estimated by several orders of magnitude. As a result, there was a significant movement of particles on the asteroid’s surface that were found during space exploration. These discoveries are essential for understanding the earliest evolution of the solar system because meteorites, which are fragments of asteroids that fall to Earth from space, provide essential details on the evolution and eolian processes that occur on planets as well as the beginning of planetary formation.