A- A A+
Free Email News
Creation magazine print - 1 yr new subn

US $25.00
View Item
The Creation Answers Book
by Various

US $14.00
View Item

‘Impossible’ asteroid


18 July 2006

Courtesy of JAXA

Impossible asteroid

The visit to the small asteroid Itokawa by Japan’s Hayabusa spacecraft in November 2005 has left planetary scientists puzzling over its origin.1,2

Because of its small size (535 metres long), they had expected that the asteroid would be a single chunk of rock, unable to hold smaller pieces to itself.  But images from the spacecraft show Itokawa’s surface is littered with boulders and gravel.

“The answer, of course, is that there haven’t been space rocks colliding with Itokawa for millions of years.”

‘Everything we suspected about it turned out to be wrong,’ said Erik Asphaug, a University of California planetary scientist.  For example, measurements of the asteroid’s gravity field show Itokawa is 40% porous (i.e. filled with empty space). 

‘That is astonishing,’ says Asphaug, explaining that sand has a porosity of 20%.  ‘It’s very hard to get porosities greater than that.  You’ve got to start balancing things delicately, like you were building a house of cards.  The only way to do it is to gently pack the stuff together.’

So it’s now being suggested that the Itokawa ‘loosely packed pile of rubble’ collected after a collision between asteroids.  But, as Asphaug points out, there’s a problem—repeated impacts with other space rocks over millions of years should have made Itokawa denser. 

The answer, of course, is that there haven’t been space rocks colliding with Itokawa for millions of years.  The heavens were indeed built, at the same time as the earth, only around 6,000 years ago.

  1. Hayabusa at Asteroid Itokawa; a Special Section with a Perspective by E. Asphaug and Reports by numerous researchers, Science 312(5778):1328–1353, 2 June 2006.
  2.   McKee, M., rubbly Itokawa revealed as ‘impossible’ asteroid, news service, <>, 5 June 2006.

The great commission tells us to preach the Gospel to every nation. We might not be able to go there in the flesh but this site can penetrate every country on the globe. Help the world find 'creation'. Support this site

Copied to clipboard
Product added to cart.
Click store to checkout.
In your shopping cart

Remove All Products in Cart
Go to store and Checkout
Go to store
Total price does not include shipping costs. Prices subject to change in accordance with your country’s store.