(ORDO NEWS) — Ever since the Hayabusa 2 mission brought samples of the asteroid Ryugu back to Earth in 2020, a team of experts from around the world have been studying them to learn more about the origins of our solar system.
Carbonaceous chondrites, such as the Winchcombe meteorite that hit Earth in Gloucestershire in 2021, are an extremely rare group of meteorites containing organics and amino acids.
They are the most primitive materials in the solar system and can provide unique information about where the building blocks of life formed.
In a study published Oct. 20 in the journal Science Advances, a team of scientists concluded that Ryugu was part of a group of Cb-class asteroids that formed in regions as far away as the Kuiper Belt, or possibly even further.
“While there is general agreement that material from the outer solar system may have been moved inward by the giant planets, this is one of the first studies to suggest that the asteroid belt contains material originating from Neptune,” said Professor Sarah Russell, co-author of articles and senior researcher at the museum.
A team of researchers set out to find out if Cb-type asteroids like Ryugu could be the parent body of a rare group of meteorites known as CI chondrites.
Meteorites are the key to understanding the solar system, but their scientific value is limited if the place where they formed is unknown.
The findings suggest that both Ryugu and CI chondrites originate from the same region of space, and it cannot be ruled out that they could even have had the same parent body.
“By comparing the forms of iron in both asteroids and meteorites, we learned that Ryugu is surprisingly close to CI chondrites.
This is the rarest type of carbonaceous meteorite and I’m really excited to have a specimen of this type, Ivuna, in our museum’s collection,” Professor Russell said.
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