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An analysis of the rotation of the peanut-shaped asteroid 25143 Itokawa suggests that its smaller end is actually far denser than its bigger end.
Previously, some researchers have proposed that Itokawa is actually two asteroids in contact with one another, a scenario strongly supported by the new results, the team contends. It’s not clear whether the odd configuration results from the merger of a two-asteroid system or merely clumps of material that fell back together after a larger asteroid was blasted apart by an immense collision.
The researchers also found that the asteroid’s rotation is actually increasing by 45 milliseconds per year.