Incredible Image Surfaces: Striking Resemblance Between Asteroid And Earth Rocks Is Revealed

James Marshall
August 23, 2019

Rocks on the surface of Ryugu, the distant asteroid now being explored by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa-2, bear a striking resemblance to rocks from meteorites that have crashed down on Earth.

The findings from Ralf Jaumann and colleagues present evidence linking the asteroid to a particular class of meteorites, supporting theories that Ryugu formed during a cataclysmic event.

Researchers state that since the asteroid Ryugu, a 900-m-diameter dark object, consists of materials from the early days of our solar system, the analysis by the scientists provide further insight into understanding the formation of our solar system.

A team of European and Japanese scientists who analyzed some newly-released photos that Hayabusa-2's robotic lander, MASCOT, managed to take from the asteroid's surface back in October 2018, has revealed all about this resemblance, according to the latest reports coming from Gizmodo and highlighted also by Science Alert. As the lander approached the surface, its camera took images that allowed Jaumann et al.to reconstruct the trajectory of MASCOT, which descended slowly and bounced across the surface before settling.

Ryugu may be the "child" of two parent bodies that collided, broke up, and then came back together through gravity.

Numerous rocks also contained small blue and red "inclusions" - material that was trapped in the rock during its formation - making them extremely similar to a type of rare, primitive meteorites found on Earth called carbonaceous chondrites. Unexpectedly, the images showed no fine particles or dust on the surface, which would be expected to accumulate following space weathering.

But still experts were left puzzled over what could have rid the 914 metre-wide asteroid of dust, with them considering the possibility a secondary mechanism was to blame.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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