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Solid as a Rock? Porosity of Asteroids
Sig14 018

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Artwork • June 19th, 2014 • sig14-018

sig14-018

Asteroids can differ in the degree of porosity, or the amount of empty space that makes up their structures. At one end of the spectrum is a single solid rock and, at the other end, is a pile of rubble held together by gravity. Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, taken in infrared light, have helped to reveal that a small asteroid called 2011 MD is made-up of two-thirds empty space, which means it has essentially the same density as water.

About the Object

Name
2011 MD
Type
Interplanetary Body > Asteroid