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Aug 4 / Dave Schumaker

Dating Asteroids

A new study to be published in Nature shows that the traditional way of dating asteroids, by counting the number of impact craters on its surface, cannot be used when trying to determine the age of 433 Eros. The results also have some interesting implications that may arise when trying to date other asteroids as well. The asteroid’s smooth patches can be explained by a seismic disturbance that occurred when a meteoroid crashed into Eros, shaking the asteroid and creating Shoemaker crater. The shaking caused loose surface material to fill some small craters, essentially erasing craters from approximately 40 percent of Eros’ surface and making the asteroid appear younger than its actual age.

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