Team identifies parent body materials in asteroid Ryugu

Team identifies parent body materials in asteroid Ryugu

A particle from asteroid Ryugu (dubbed C0009) helps identify materials from the space object’s parent body. Credit: A. Yamaguchi/NIPR

An international team including a researcher from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has determined that a specific particle on asteroid Ryugu can shed light on the original unaltered materials of its parent body.

In December 2014, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the Hayabusa2 spacecraft to asteroid 162173 Ryugu. In December 2020, the sample return capsule successfully landed safely on Earth with pristine pieces of Ryugu it had collected.

Ryugu is an ancient fragment of a larger asteroid that formed very early in the history of the solar system, shortly after the birth of the sun. Samples from this asteroid offer a unique opportunity to determine not only the material from which the solar system formed, but also how the solar system evolved.

The solar system formed from a large, swirling cloud of gas and dust created by previous generations of stars. This “stardust” is made up of nanometer to micrometer sized particles that are incorporated into planetary bodies, such as Ryugu, as they form.

In the new research, LLNL secondary ion mass spectrometer and cosmochemist Ming-Chang Liu (Division of Nuclear and Chemical Sciences) found that one particle (designated C0009) differs mineralogically from other Ryugu particles because it contains a small amount (~0.5 vol%) of anhydrous silicates. Other particles studied to date contained more phyllosilicate and carbonate minerals, suggesting that Ryugu underwent significant aqueous weathering on its parent body, similar to the rare mineralogically modified, but chemically primitive CI chondrites (a group of meteorites rare stones). The search appears in natural astronomy.

Through isotopic analysis of magnesium-rich olivine and pyroxene, the data “provides strong evidence that amoeboid olivine aggregates and magnesium-rich chondrules, two types of high-temperature objects that formed in the solar nebula, accumulated in the parent body of Ryugu,” Liu said. , who is the first author of the article.

The team analyzed the results of oxygen isotope measurements of anhydrous silicates from Ryugu, which have strong implications for the origins of Ryugu and, by extension, the parent asteroids of the CI chondrite meteorites.

“The oxygen isotope data along with the grain morphology allow us to infer the parent materials incorporated into the Ryugu protolith as they reveal a potential relationship between the anhydrous silicates in C0009 and other known components at high temperature found in non-CI carbonaceous chondrites,” Liu said. .

Dust grains from the asteroid Ryugu older than our solar system

More information:
Ming-Chang Liu et al, Incorporation of 16O-rich anhydrous silicates into the protolith of the highly hydrated asteroid Ryugu, natural astronomy (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41550-022-01762-4

Provided by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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