For the primary time, scientists have measured the water content material of samples from a distant asteroid. That’s because of a profitable mission by Japan’s Hayabusa house probe, which gathered 1,500 particles from an asteroid named Itokawa and introduced them again to Earth. Whereas Itokawa appears dusty and barren, the samples contained a water-wealthy mineral known as pyroxene, according to CNN — and the scientists behind the analysis say the invention helps the speculation that asteroid collisions delivered at the least a few of Earth’s water.
The Arizona State College astronomers behind the brand new analysis argue that water-enriched asteroids like Itokawa might be liable for a big portion — as a lot at 50 p.c — of Earth’s water in the new study, which was printed within the journal Science Advances Wednesday. “That makes these asteroids excessive-precedence targets for exploration,” researcher Maitrayee Bose advised CNN, going to on argue that scientists ought to continue gathering samples from house rocks in a bid to higher perceive the place they got here from and the way they fashioned.
“Pattern-return missions are obligatory if we actually need to do an in-depth examination of planetary objects,” Bose informed CNN. “The Hayabusa mission to Itokawa has expanded our information of the unstable contents of our bodies that helped type Earth. It will not be shocking if an identical mechanism of water manufacturing is widespread for rocky exoplanets round different stars.”