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Ryugu, like Bennu, appears to have rocks from other asteroids

Japanese scientists today announced that 21 rocks identified by Hayabusa-2 on the asteroid Ryugu have a composition that suggests they were formed on another asteroid.

Although Ryugu’s surface is uniformly dark [because it is a C-type asteroid], the scientists behind the new research found numerous boulders scattered across the asteroid that were 1.5 or more times brighter than their surroundings — that is, they reflected at least 50% more light than most of the rest of Ryugu. This contrast made the researchers suspect these boulders may have come from outside the asteroid.

By analyzing the spectrum of light reflected off 21 of these boulders, the scientists deduced they were made of minerals known as anhydrous silicates. Prior studies have suggested that such water-poor, silicon-rich rocks make up silicaceous or S-type asteroids, the most common kind of asteroid found in the inner main asteroid belt. The brightness of these boulders also matches the brightness of S-type asteroids.

This result compliments the result yesterday from scientists studying Bennu with OSIRIS-REx, and was in fact released at the same time. Both asteroids apparently contain material from other asteroids, suggesting that asteroids in their initial formation (as rubble piles) are routinely a mixture of material from many asteroids, thrown out during impacts and then recaptured.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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2 comments

  • mpthompson

    I wonder if there are scenarios under which rocks can be gently liberated from one asteroid and be gently deposited on another asteroid. Normally, it seems that collisions in space should be very violent events. However, the gravitational field of asteroids are so weak that perhaps the violent forces a rock might experience being transferred between asteroids in similar orbits might be on the order to that which a baseball experiences being hit with a bat.

    If the if the forces involved are small enough perhaps the process of sharing rocks is not something isolated to early formation, but an active process that is still occuring.

  • LocalFluff

    @mpthompson
    Just from intuition, so take a grain of asteroidal salt with it, but I would think that most asteroids today are debris from violent impacts. And that this debris tends to end up in similar orbits with similar speed so that they can reform by merger. That “billions of years” thing conducts a selection process.

    I haven’t heard of any asteroidal collision being observed in real time! Are they so rare? Have I missed something or have all the asteroids missed everything in the last few decades?

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