The mission to the metallic asteroid 16 Psyche has just launched, and it already turns out that this isn’t the only fascinating world scientists have been observing for some time. This other is 33 Polyhymnia, which may contain elements not yet discovered on Earth.
The phrase “out-of-this-world asteroid” can be understood in several ways. Because it is a term that fits well ‘Oumuamua, an asteroid that came to the inner solar system “for a moment” and has been considered by some (including Avi Loeb, who is fascinated by the subject of the extraterrestrial origin of various space objects) to be the creation of an alien civilization. The same can be said for Comet Nishimura, which recently passed by the Sun, but due to its very long orbital period and the uncertainty of its identification, it may only be a one-time guest.
This can also be said about fragments of other planets found on Earth, for example Mars (yes, several hundred meteorites from the Red Planet have already been discovered), those that arrive here thanks to the forces of nature and technology, such as the recent samples from the asteroid Bennu brought by the OSIRIS spacecraft. -REx.
33 The polynomial may be representative of a newly distinguished class of so-called superdense compact orbs, in this case made of ordinary matter. The abbreviation for Compact Ultradense Objects is MIRACLE.
However, it is difficult to deny that there is nothing like summoning an object from this world, an object composed of elements that have never been discovered before on Earth or during our exploration of space. Such an object might be asteroid 33 Polyhymnia, which has an average density of 75 g/cm3.3 It was actually identified in 2012, assuming it is not made of exotic matter, and can be best explained by the presence of previously undetected elements in large atomic numbers.
How do we know asteroid 33 Polyhymenia? Are we sure we’re not wrong here?
33 Polyhymnia is an object discovered by the French astronomer Jean Chacornac in 1854. However, due to its size, an irregular mass with a size of about 54 kilometers, and its distance, the asteroid approaches the Sun at a distance of at least 1.9 astronomical units (astronomical unit – for comparison, average Mars’s distance from the Sun is 1.52 AU), and its most precise parameters were not known for a long time.
The orbit and position of 33 Polyhymenia on January 1, 2009 relative to the other planets.
Including mass, which results from the properties of the object. In 2012, Benoît Carey, based on the gravitational influence of 33 Polyhymenia on other objects in the solar system that it passed through, arrived at a density value for this object, which is recognized today, although it is still treated with disbelief. It is about 15 times greater than Earth’s average density. For comparison, the Earth’s density is 5.51 g/cm33. This is of course an average value, because the Earth’s core is denser than the crust.
In the case of 33 Polyhymenia, it is difficult to say whether it is close to the general density or whether there is a massive core inside the asteroid, which is what scientists dealing with the CUDO topic take into account. If so, its density must be higher than the stated density of 75 g/cm3.
These estimates may also be wrong due to an error in estimating the size of the asteroid. However, it is difficult to imagine that it would be large enough to drop the average density of 33 Polyhymenia to a value similar to that of other asteroids. Not only rocky, but also metallic like 16 Psyche, which has a density of 4.5 g/cm3.
It has not been discovered before, but it is conceivable. Huge items
The term “unknown” in relation to the question which may largely constitute the composition of 33 polyhymenia is well chosen, although this does not mean that we cannot say anything about it. Because although we have not yet observed elements with such high densities as the asteroid suggests in the natural environment, that does not mean that we cannot predict their presence. The key here is to determine the atomic number at which configurations can result in stable elements.
Osmium has the highest density among the elements known to date. 22.6 g/cm33. For comparison, the density of aluminum (aluminum) is 2.7 g/cm33Lead is 11.3 g/cm33.
The densest element known to us – osmium, has 76 protons and 114 neutrons in its nucleus. The element with the highest number of nucleons (protons and neutrons) in the nucleus is not the one we know. Even the bullets mentioned in it are more. However, the current highest element on the periodic table is oganesson, which has up to 118 protons and 176 neutrons in the nucleus. The problem is that we could only produce it for a few milliseconds, and then it decayed.
However, thanks to advances in computational techniques, we are able to develop models of elements with larger numbers of protons in the nucleus and evaluate their stability. The key here is the number of protons in the nucleus, the atomic number, denoted by Z (the mass number, denoted by A, is the sum of protons and neutrons).
33 Polyhymnia may contain elements that are not from this earth, that is, they were not known to us before.
It turns out that for an atomic number Z of 164, there can be stable isotopes (elements with the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus). We have not yet been able to produce an element with Z equal to 164 in Earth’s laboratories, but perhaps one or another, even the most massive element, is composed of 33 polyhymenia.
The question of the existence of such elements was taken up by Jan (actually Johan) Ravelski of the University of Arizona, whose team more than a decade ago proposed the existence of massive asteroid-sized celestial bodies, which were called KUDO.
Today it is difficult to predict what would result from confirmation of the hypothesis regarding the formation of 33 polyhymenia, but such an ultra-dense material is certainly an interesting object not only for scientific research, but perhaps also for the materials industry. You see, the solar system itself never ceases to surprise us, and yet it is just a speck in the vastness of space.
Source: information. Exclusive, space.com, Acta Physica Polonica, image inserted for illustrative purposes
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