Do Asteroids collide? It seems like a safe assumption, but until recently, we've had no proof. But among the many things Hubble is doing for us lately is taking pictures of as yet unproven events that are enticing the science geeks, such as an unfamiliar debris field pattern, according to a Pop-Sci article.
A comet-like object about 90 million miles from Earth was discovered by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program at the beginning of the year. The debris field was wrong, and the usual gases detected in a comet's debris trail were missing. And the pattern in the debris field has a distinct "x" pattern that is making NASA scientists speculate that the debris is from the collision of two asteroids. With an estimated impact speed of around 11,000 miles per hour, the collision is described as "energetic" which clearly is an understatement.
It may seem like a mundane thing we should assume, but the beauty of science is it requires proof outside of assumption. This small step towards actually knowing our universe makes it simultaneously feel smaller, and much more interesting.