Photo: Shaking Asteroid Sorts, Instead of Sheds, Its Rubble



Images of the near-Earth asteroid Itokawa show smooth patches contrasting with piles of rubble on the object's surface.

New analysis of images taken by the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa reveal that particles are sorted by size, likely when the asteroid experiences shaking and vibrations. But what causes such disturbances remains a mystery.

Image © JAXA


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