An international team of researchers studying dust samples recovered by the Hayabusa-2 space probe has found that some dust grains are older than the solar system. In their paper published in Astrophysical Journal Lettersthe group describes their analysis of dust from the asteroid and what they found.
The space probe Hayabusa-2 began its mission in 2014 and was launched into space aboard an H-IIA 202 rocket. It met the near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu four years later. After flying the asteroid for two years, it descended to its surface and took a sample Surface soil. Then it exploded and fell back to the ground.
Ryugu is located 300 million km from Earth and revolves around the Sun every 16 months. It has been described as little more than an aggregate of pebbles, likely made from the debris of several other asteroids. Other research has shown that it likely formed in the outer part of the solar system and has been creeping inland ever since — and some even now. Indicate hints of dust It is possible that Earth’s water came from a similar asteroid.
Since the dust sample collected by the probe returned to Earth, parts of it have been passed around the world to different researchers eager to test it in different ways. In this new effort, the researchers looked at determining its age — noting that different types of grains in asteroids like Ryugu originated from different types of stars and stellar processes. The age and dating of the grains in their dust can be determined by their isotopic fingerprints.
In the study of the Ryugu dust sample, researchers compared it to the grains in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites found on Earth. They note that only 5% of these meteorites have been found to contain grains that predate the creation of the solar system – some dating back 7 billion years. The researchers found that the dust sample contains grains identical to all other types seen in meteorites, showing that it also predates Solar System. They noted that one in particular, silicates that are known to be easy to destroy, must somehow be protected from damage by the sun.
Jens Baruch et al., Presolar Stardust on the asteroid Ryugu, Astrophysical Journal Letters (2022). DOI: 10.3847 / 2041-8213 / ac83bd
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