Dust From the Chelyabinsk Meteor Shows Traces of Unexpected Microcrystals

Dust From the Chelyabinsk Meteor Shows Traces of Unexpected Microcrystals
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You may have heard about the Chelyabinsk meteor hitting Russia almost a decade ago, leading to about 1,000 people getting injured. Six Russian cities witnessed parts of buildings damaged, as well as broken windows. When it hit, the space rock had a diameter of about 19 meters.

A scientific group led by Vladimir Khovaylo and Sergey Taskaev from Chelyabinsk State University in Russia is now studying the unusual crystals existing in the dust from the meteorite’s surface that surprisingly survived, according to SciTechDaily.

The two scientists mentioned used a light microscope to observe the carbon microcrystals that are present in the dust. By using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Khovaylo and Taskaev found out what unusual shapes the microcrystals could take: hexagonal rods, closed, as well as quasi-spherical shells. It turned out later on that the crystals were peculiar forms of graphite.

The Chelyabinsk meteor made astronomers take asteroid detection a lot more seriously than before. In the present, NASA is constantly searching for the big space rocks out there that could pose a threat someday.

In late July, we shared the news about two big asteroids approaching Earth: 2016 CZ31 and 2013 CU83. Luckily enough, none of them had a chance of colliding with our planet.

However, asteroids themselves can become ‘victims’ of collisions. In early July, we spoke about the collision between Bennu and a smaller asteroid that led to a landslide for the former. 

Mark Perry from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), explained about the landslide, as space.com quotes:

Because Bennu is so small, its escape velocity is less than a few tenths of a mile per hour, so any particle ejected faster than that would leave the surface,

These slow speeds are possible only if Bennu’s surface is weaker than we thought, even weaker than very loose, dry sand. This extremely low surface strength also means the material on a slope is easily disturbed, and that’s what led to the landslide.

The new research was published in the European Physical Journal Plus.


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Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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