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Million asteroids came from just 5 broken planets, says a new study

Try and think back to your fourth grade science class. You may remember that between rocky inner planets and outer gas giants there is a collection of strange shaped stones called the asteroid belt.

This creatively named space is filled with, you guessed it asteroids. There are millions of those who circle the sun while we are talking, and some come scary near the earth regularly.

But where did they come from?

A new study published in Nature Astronomy suggests that 85% of all the asteroids in the inner headband originate from five or six smaller planets that fell in pieces a long time ago. The remaining asteroids can also share the same ancestors or be leftovers of other similar objects.

Leader author Stanley Dermott of the University of Florida explains that the differences between meteorites found on Earth can only be explained if the asteroids that these meteorites came from were once a piece of some objects, not even bigger than a small moon.

In a video explaining the results, he tells us that:

The differences in the meteorites are to (of) what happened inside the big bodies, not because they came from all these different objects . So, like in the earth, (large bodies) have iron in the middle and then rock on the outside and different types of stones as you reach the mantle. So, these changes may occur in a larger body that could not be present in a small body .

This means that at one and the same time there were thousands of years ago five or six large rock and metal bodies in the mid-section of our solar system. These planetoids collapsed or were broken by consequences with other objects. What remains of them constitutes the largest part of the population in the asteroid belt today.

This is cool and all but is there any practical use for this information?

It may be useful to despise some asteroids that would otherwise hit the earth. Dr Dermott also tells us that "If any of these come to earth, and we want to deny it, we need to know what its nature is."

Since it is generally agreed that an asteroid will meet again at some point in the future, and it is understood that the United States is currently not prepared for such an event. All information that helps us understand this threat will be useful later. When you consider how much damage a small asteroid would cause if it were to hit us, this discovery might be inevitable later.

Learning how asteroids develop can also help us understand how planets come to life. Looking over the cosmos looking for exoplanets can also help to know how smaller planets can tear into asteroids before we decide to launch a spacecraft to colonize them. Suppose we want to become a space condition that is.

Here you have it. The millions of millions of asteroids in the solar system are likely to be from the same five or six old sources. As with much science, this seems to be less likely to help researchers in other areas to expand on the knowledge they have in ways no-one imagined a few years ago.

While there may not be a practical application for you today, remember to thank the authors of this study later when we have to bend an asteroid.

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