We can’t travel in time. It’s a painful reality, but it is what it is. It’s impossible to go back to that time of year you wish you had, that hug you didn’t know would be your last, or that first kiss you should never have given. But in space Yes, you can study the past. Not only because the objects are so far away, but that the light that reached us was sent millions of years ago. Also because there is small time capsules they tell us how something as big as our galaxy, as intimate as our planet, or as vast as our planetary system came to be. Therefore, to study the origin of the Solar System, missions have been launched for many years aimed at analyzing asteroids that may have been born along with it. This is something interesting, but for some scientists it would be much more useful study of mini-moons.

It’s not a mistake. It’s true that there is only one moon on Earth, but we have several mini-moons. These are small cosmic bodies quite close to the Earth, the orbit of which is influenced by both it and other components of the solar system.

The best thing about these mini-moons is that they are located quite close to Earth. Therefore, sending a mission there would be much easier than launching it to those asteroids that some probes are already studying. Although the origins of mini-moons are not entirely clear, it is believed that they may have their origins in the famous asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter. It is believed that this belt was once part of the protosolar nebula that supposedly gave rise to the solar system. Therefore, it is not necessary to turn to distant asteroids to find out how our planetary system began. We have the tips you need much closer to our planet.

Missions to study the origins of the solar system

Two main missions that went to asteroids to study the origins of the solar system: Osiris Rexfrom NASA, and Hayabusa 2from the Japan Space Agency (JAXA).

Osiris Rex’s first target was an asteroid Bennu, the first samples of which he sent to Earth in September last year. It is now on its way to another asteroid, Apophis, which it is expected to reach in 2029. As for Hayabusa 2, its mission is very similar to that of Hayabusa 2. Osiris Rexbut in asteroid Ryugu.

It is believed that both asteroids, which have changed little over time, may retain some of the materials that the Solar System had at its inception. The problem is that they are so far away. The distance to our planet changes as they move; but in general, for Bennu it exceeds 100 million kilometers, and for Ryugu – more than 300 million. The missions that were sent there were very expensive and lengthy, so doing it regularly is not at all easy.

The first samples of Bennu are already on Earth. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.

Why don’t we take advantage of what we get?

We might ask ourselves why we don’t study the origins of the solar system from fragments of asteroids that collided with the Earth as meteorites. This is a good question, but there is a simple answer. Studying it would be of no benefit to us, since have been polluted by our own atmosphere. Another option is needed, and the key lies in the mini-moons.

The role of mini-moons in understanding the origin of the solar system

Minimoons also likely store materials dating back to the birth of the solar system. Just like those distant asteroids. But its advantage is that They are much closer.

As explained in an interview for Living Science MIT astronomer Richard Binzel Since their inception, mini-moons have been bouncing and tugging at various components of the solar system as if it were a pinball game. This could give us even more information about how our planetary system evolved.

It is true that we cannot compare these mini-moons with our main satellite. But they can tell us many stories. It’s worth at least knowing about its existence.

Source: Hiper Textual

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