Earth’s gravity can tear asteroids to pieces

Scientists are interested in why fewer large asteroids approach the Earth than they could. They come to the conclusion that the gravity of our planet is capable of tearing apart large rocks that fly too close to it.

The Earth is tearing asteroids to pieces. Source:

Asteroids around us

It seems to people that the collision of our planet with an asteroid is one of the greatest dangers threatening humanity. However, in fact, there are much fewer large rocks that come dangerously close to us than there could be. At least, this is evidenced by a study by Finnish and American astronomers, which has already appeared on the arXiv preprint site.

The suspicion is that although there are enough asteroids at distances commensurate with the Earth’s orbit, only a few of them cross it in a dangerous way. The authors of the study have suggested that the reason for this may be the gravity of our planet, which destroys large celestial rocks when approaching.

For ten years, they have been observing asteroids that are approaching our planet in the hope that sooner or later one of them will be torn apart, but this has not happened. Then the scientists assumed this was quite rare and decided to prove their assumption through calculations.

A model of the destruction of asteroids by the Earth

Scientists began by creating a mathematical model of how often asteroids of different sizes should approach the Earth. Then they compared its predictions with what was actually observed and made sure that there were significantly fewer large objects coming to us than they should have. 

Then they tested the assumption that the reason for this was the gravity of the Earth, which tore them to pieces and scattered small fragments in space. They changed the model so that it took such phenomena into account, and it accurately repeated the real number of small asteroids approaching us.

This study shows that our ideas about a possible disaster related to a space rock may be incorrect. A collision with bodies capable of destroying all life on the planet is an extremely unlikely thing. But space rocks, which would destroy an entire city in a collision, are a very real danger.

According to

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