Rogue asteroids may be the norm
A new map of asteroids developed by researchers from MIT and the Paris Observatory charts the size, composition, and location of more than 100,000 asteroids throughout the solar system, and shows that rogue asteroids are more common than previously thought. Researchers found a compositionally diverse mix of asteroids.
The new asteroid map suggests that the early solar system may have undergone dramatic changes before the planets assumed their current alignment. For instance, Jupiter may have drifted closer to the sun, dragging with it a host of asteroids that originally formed in the colder edges of the solar system, before moving back out to its current position. Jupiter’s migration may have simultaneously knocked around more close-in asteroids, scattering them outward.
“It’s like Jupiter bowled a strike through the asteroid belt,” says Francesca DeMeo, who did much of the mapping as a postdoc in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. “Everything that was there moves, so you have this melting pot of material coming from all over the solar system.”