As new research emerges, we learn that asteroids are more than meets the eye. An intriguing discovery left scientists in awe, unveiling water and organic matter on an asteroid sample.
This is the first time when organic materials have been found on an asteroid. Scientists explain now everything in a new paper.
Here is what you need to know.
Asteroid Itokawa’s Peculiar Features: Earth-like Evolution
In 2010, JAXA’s first Hayabusa mission returned with a single grain sample from the asteroid Itokawa, an S-type asteroid. Back then, it didn’t stir up that much interest. A few years now, and the asteroid is in the spotlight.
The recent research indicates that the sample shows water and organic matter that evolved through time. What does this mean?
Apparently, Itokawa has been continuously evolving over billions of years by fusing water and organic materials from other cosmic material, similar to Earth.
Itokawa has a way with organic matter
In the past, Itokawa most likely experienced different phases, including extreme heating, dehydration, and breaking due to tragic impacts, as the research explains.
Despite that, the asteroid found its way back to its initial state from the broken fragments and apparently, rehydrated itself with water. But how such a thing could be possible?
Itokawa survived thanks to the water from carbon-rich meteorites or the in fall of dust. Also, being an S-type asteroid, it possesses the raw ingredients of life.
Dr Queenie Chan from the Department of Earth Sciences at Royal Holloway stated:
“Our findings suggest that mixing of materials is a common process in our solar system.”
According to scientists, the asteroid’s analysis changes a lot some traditional views on the origin of life on our planet. Previously, many studies focused on C-type carbon-rich asteroids.
More research is needed, and currently, scientists try to examine Itokawa more to find what other features could hide.