During the study, researchers found that incoming asteroids may be very harder to break, and they made this conclusion by using a new computer modelling method to simulate asteroid collisions.
"We used to believe that the larger the object, the more easily it would break, because bigger objects are more likely to have flaws", El Mir said.
For example, the first asteroid collision models failed to accurately account for the slow speeds at which cracks in asteroids develop.
But in reality, exploding a city-size asteroid may require more power than once thought, according to a new study. They wanted to understand more about how asteroids form in order to help with potential asteroid mining efforts and also, in true disaster movie style, to "aid in the creation of asteroid impact and deflection strategies".More news: Man Killed By Lion He Kept At Home
"It may sound like science fiction but a great deal of research considers asteroid collisions", lead author Charles El Mir, a recent doctoral graduate at Johns Hopkins University, said in a university statement. For their hypothetical, they imagined an asteroid approximately a kilometer in diameter (0.62 miles) hitting a 25-kilometer diameter (15.5 miles) target asteroid directly, at an impact velocity of 5 kilometers per second (11,184 MPH).
The study says fragments of the blasted space rock would be likely to reform with the asteroid because of gravity.
However, with the new, more detailed computer model, the team found that the huge asteroid would retain significant strength.
The simulation was separated into two phases: a short-timescale fragmentation phase and a long-timescale gravitational reaccumulation phase.More news: Putin suspends INF arms treaty with US
The model showed that immediately after an asteroid is hit, millions of cracks formed and rippled throughout the asteroid, parts of the asteroid flowed like sand, and a crater was created. When this was taken into account, the new model showed that the asteroid would be more impervious to cracking than the previous model indicated and that it would continue to hold together even when bombarded with considerable force.
The new study report contradicted with the findings of a study conducted in 2000 which suggested that an asteroid apparently one kilometre in diameter could be completely shattered using manmade impacts. During the second phase, the asteroid showed a significantly damaged core that exerted a strong gravitational pull on the fragments.
"We are impacted fairly often by small asteroids, such as in the Chelyabinsk event a few years ago", said K.T. Ramesh, director of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute.
El Mir added that it's just a matter of time before research on asteroids become more useful than just being tackled in academic books.More news: Michael Jackson 'Married' 10-Year-Old Boy, Claims New Documentary