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Oxygen’s presence reveals Ryugu’s asteroid’s home and the beginning of the Solar System | Sciences

The solar system consisting of the sun and the planets revolving around it – including Earth – includes other smaller bodies such as asteroids, meteorites and comets, in addition to a thin cloud of gas and dust.

A treasure trove of information

The Ryugu asteroid is one of the types of carbonaceous asteroids called “C-type asteroids”, and it is one of the most common types of asteroids in the solar system, as it constitutes 75% of all asteroids known to us. Ryugu has a porosity of about 46%, so it is more porous than any carbonaceous meteorite that has been studied so far.

The asteroid attracts the attention of researchers about the origins of the universe and the solar system, as it has not changed significantly since the establishment of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago. About two years ago, the Japanese space probe “Hayabusa-2” returned, carrying samples from the Ryugu asteroid, and those mineral samples are still a treasure trove of exciting information for scientists.

In this context, a broad research partnership headed by a team from Hokkaido University in Japan has closely examined the minerals that make up Ryugu, and published Results On December 12 in the journal Science Advances.

About two years ago, the Japanese space probe “Hayabusa-2” returned, carrying samples from the Ryugu asteroid (NASA).

16 oxygen isotopes reveal the secret

Comets form farther from the Sun, and because of the cooler temperatures in those regions, they retain a large amount of ice as part of their formation. In contrast, asteroids are made almost entirely of rock at a closer distance.

According for the press release Published on, a special interest in analyzing the levels of the oxygen isotope (oxygen-16) and the composition of the primary minerals in the samples could provide us with important information that narrows the circle of possibility related to the asteroid’s original home.

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The presence of carbonates and amino acids in the Ryugu samples indicates that the asteroid may have formed in low temperatures and water conditions where ice does not evaporate easily, which means that Ryugu may have formed in the outer solar system near the comet forming region.

The results show a bimodal distribution of oxygen isotope compositions 16 in high-temperature non-aqueous primary minerals, as the team was able to determine the presence of minerals such as spinel, olivine, and perovskites that form at temperatures above a thousand degrees Celsius.

Home of Ryugu

The team reported that the isotopes of copper and zinc in Ryugu closely match the isotopes of the carbonaceous chondrites that make up the Ivuna meteorite discovered in Tanzania, but they are also similar to those found in the comet “Wild-2” Wild -2, which means that it was formed, In the same way, from a mixture of inner and outer solar system materials.

Scientists have already established that Ryugu contains the debris of other stars that exploded before the formation of the sun. The researchers suggest that Ryugu may have formed in a part of the outer solar system near where most comets form. During its formation, some material from the inner solar system made its way to the outer solar system, eventually colliding with and becoming part of the newly formed asteroid.

It seems that the Ryugu asteroid still has a lot to offer researchers about the question of the origin and the beginning of the solar system, and with this new analysis, the asteroid is likely to tell us more in the future.

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