Scientists have discovered the origin of one of the rarest meteorites ever to hit Earth

Scientists have discovered the origin of one of the rarest meteorites ever to hit Earth


K Scientists believe they have identified the source of one of the rarest meteorites the world.

The Evuna meteorite has fallen Tanzania In December 1938 and later split into several specimens – one of which is housed here Natural History Museum (NHM) in London.

Based on analysis of an asteroid known as Ryugu, experts believe the Ivuna rock may have originated from the edge of the solar system.

The NHM team said its findings, published in the journal Science Advances, could unlock more answers about the early history of the solar system and shed more light on how life came to Earth.

Professor Sarah RussellA senior research lead at the museum, who is a co-author of the paper, told the PA news agency: “This is a really exciting discovery for me because it shows that the meteorites in our museum and in collections around the world, in fact most samples of the solid solar system, are the innermost rocky part. from to its outermost part.

“We can use them to learn more about our origin and all our companion planets.”

Evuna falls into a class of extremely rare meteorites known as CI chondrites.

They are rocky carbonaceous meteorites that retain the original primordial chemistry from the formation of the Solar System more than four billion years ago.

They are known to contain water – one of the basic elements of life.

Professor Russell said that apart from Evuna, there are only four known CI-type meteorites on Earth: Orguil and Allais, which both fell in France, Tonk which fell in India and the smaller Revelstoke meteorite which fell in Canada.

He said: “It is only in the last decade that we have begun to realize that objects in the Solar System can move towards and away from the Sun.”

For the study, the team examined Ryugu samples, which were remotely brought back to Earth in 2020 Japanese Spacecraft Hayabusa2.

It is thought that Ryugu, which is classified as a near-Earth object, was born in the outer solar system more than four billion years ago and drifted towards Earth after breaking away from a larger body.

It is now located between Earth and Mars and orbits the Sun.

Ryugu belongs to a class of asteroids called carbonaceous, or C-type, asteroids.

C-type asteroids are rich in water, carbon and organic compounds from the formation of the Solar System.

The researchers say that both the Ryugu and CI chondrites originated from the same region of space – the outskirts of the Solar System – and cannot rule out the possibility that they share the same parent body.

Professor Russell said: “By comparing the forms of iron in both asteroids and meteorites, we learned that Ryugu is remarkably similar to the Si chondrites.”

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