2 Red Objects Were Found in the Asteroid Belt. They Shouldn’t Be There. - The New York Times
Jul 28, 2021 1 min, 8 secs

Scientists led by Sunao Hasegawa from JAXA, the Japanese space agency, reported in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on Monday that two objects spotted in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter appear to have originated beyond Neptune.

Some of those rocks settled into the gap between Mars and Jupiter and became the asteroid belt.

But then there are two objects called 203 Pompeja and 269 Justitia.

203 Pompeja, at about 70 miles across, appears to be structurally intact, whereas 269 Justitia, only 35 miles or so, is likely a fragment of a previous collision.

Objects in the inner solar system tend to reflect more blue light because they are devoid of organic material — things like carbon and methane — whereas objects in the outer solar system are redder because they have a lot of organics, perhaps the building blocks of life on Earth.

The finding, if correct, would offer evidence for planetary migration in the early solar system, particularly in support of an idea called the Nice Model, with Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all moving outward, and Jupiter inward slightly, over a few hundred million years.

Most of these leftover objects in the present day are known as trans-Neptunian objects and orbit in the Kuiper belt beyond Neptune.

203 Pompeja and 269 Justitia both appear to match them.

Even captured asteroids in Jupiter’s orbit known as Trojans, thought to possibly be trans-Neptunian objects, aren’t this red.


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