Astronomers have solved the mystery of the birth of the asteroid retinue of Mars

© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Planinata the artist imagined, how did the asteroids are the Trojans in the orbit of MarsAstronomers have solved the mystery of the birth of the asteroid retinue of Mars© Illustration RIA Novosti . Alina Polyanina

. Mysterious «Trojan» asteroids orbiting Mars got there from the asteroid belt, and are large pieces of the crust of the red planet, «ejected» into space in the distant past, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

«We have shown that asteroids from the family of Eureka are fragments of igneous rocks on Mars. These heavenly bodies were thus a living example of that breed planets can be ejected into space at falling of meteorites. Given the low speed of their movement, these asteroids are extremely interesting to us to explore mantle of Mars,» write David Polishuk (David Polishook) from the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot (Israel).

Today on Earth there are several dozen meteorites, which represent fragments of ancient Mars, a breakaway from him in the fall of large asteroids. These fragments of rocks of the red planet contain information about its geological and climatic past that helps scientists understand the evolutionary history of Mars.

In the Martian origin of these «heavenly stones» scientists are not in doubt, however, as of today, geologists and planetologists almost no information about how these fragments of crust and mantle of Mars could leave its surface and go sailing to the Ground.

Still a big mystery, says Polishuk, are the so-called Trojan asteroids of Mars – group is sufficiently large celestial bodies that orbit the red planet in front of it and behind it. They are located at specific points in the orbit of Mars, where the gravitational attraction of the Sun and planets are balanced, so that they can freely move together with her and make her a kind of cosmic «sweet».

Their main unusual feature, according to scientists, is their chemical and mineral composition of eight of the largest Trojans of Mars refers to the number of asteroids of type A, consisting of olivine and other «planetary» rocks. Such asteroids, as the scientists explain, are extremely rare in the inner reaches of the Solar system, and are found in large numbers only in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Accordingly, for this reason, many planetary scientists believed that the asteroid Eureka, the largest «Trojan» of Mars with a diameter of 1.3 kilometers, in orbit of the red planet from the asteroid belt and ejected from there to the unknown result of gravitational interactions with other celestial bodies.

Stone «diaper» of Mars

Polishuk and his colleagues found that in fact, Eureka seven and its affiliates are fragments of the mantle and crust of Mars, watching them with ground-based telescope VLT in Chile and installed tools.

By measuring the range and level of reflectivity of the surface, scientists came to the conclusion that all these objects are indeed in the past were part of a single celestial body composed of olivine, pyroxene, garnet and other species present in the mantle of earth-like planets.

This gave them the idea that these asteroids may be a fragment of the interior of Mars, ejected into orbit after an extremely powerful collision of an asteroid with the red planet in the distant past. This is supported by the fact that the chemical composition of Eureka and its satellites is very similar to the structure of some of the Martian meteorites, which represent fragments of the mantle.

The problem arises – how could marianski fragments of crust and mantle to be ejected into space and get into the «Trojan» point in its orbit? Scientists believe that this could be the case if the orbit of Mars changed dramatically in the last epoch of formation of the Solar system, when the inside of her dwelt ten «germ» of the planets.

Calculations of Polishuk and his team show that the changes of the orbit of Mars young related to its interactions with other protoplanetary bodies, was often enough to «push» asteroids orbiting Mars, «Trojan» point in its orbit where part of them were able to survive until our times. This makes them the real artifacts, the traces of Martian primary matter, the study of which will help scientists understand whether Mars is habitable or not.


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