Astronomers have detailed that a “dog-bone” asteroid challenges human understanding of our solar system.
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Astronomers recently used the European Space Agency’s Very Large Telescope to take what are now considered the best images of the dog-bone-shaped asteroid named Kleopatra. Franck Marchis, senior planetary astronomer at the SETI Institute in California and lead author of a new study on Cleopatra, said asteroids aren’t just boring and useless chunks of rock floating around in space, but actually are “complex geological mini-worlds.“
Marchis goes on to say that “Cleopatra and other weird asteroids are natural laboratories for challenging our knowledge of the solar system and taking us outside the box.“The strange asteroid was first discovered in 1880, but its strange shape was not discovered until 2011 with the use of ground-based telescopes. Researchers estimate that Kleopatra is about 160 miles from one end. to another and weighs a ridiculous 3.3 trillion tonnes.