The Armor of Asteroid BennuThe Armor of Asteroid Bennu https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/14195130/bennu-beauty.jpg 690 388 Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/14195130/bennu-beauty.jpg
A study by researchers at Lockheed Martin claims that the surface of asteroid Bennu is relatively protected from impacts. Even with many craters, Bennu has a lower number than scientists expected.
This feature is linked to its formation, which differs from other asteroids. While most asteroids are made up of a single body, Bennu is made up of a bunch of chunks of rock and dust held together by gravity.
This may explain the lower number of craters. When something collides with the asteroid, the impact wave is prevented from contacting the rest of the celestial body, as it is now thought to be absorbed by one of its many boulders. Thus, this impact energy would generally not be enough to form a new crater.
Scientists estimate that almost all near-Earth asteroids have this composition, which appears to act as a natural armor. This new theory will mean scientists will have to rethink how to deflect such asteroids headed for Earth.
Find out more:
Crater population on asteroid (101955) Bennu indicates impact armouring and a young surface (Nature Geoscience)
Tour of Asteroid Bennu (Video)