Rocks on Ryugu, a 'rubble pile' near-Earth asteroid recently visited by Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft, appear to have lost much of their water before they came together to form the asteroid, new research suggests.
Minerals are the most durable, information-rich objects we can study to understand our planet's origin and evolution. However, the current classification system leaves unanswered questions for planetary scientists, geobiologists, paleontologists and others who strive to understand minerals' historical context. A new evolutionary approach to classifying minerals complements the existing protocols and offers the opportunity to rigorously document Earth's history.
A Southwest Research Institute-led team of scientists has identified a potentially new meteorite parent asteroid by studying a small shard of a meteorite that arrived on Earth a dozen years ago. The composition of a piece of the meteorite Almahata Sitta (AhS) indicates that its parent body was an asteroid roughly the size of Ceres, the largest object in the main asteroid belt, and formed in the presence of water under intermediate temperatures and pressures.
As Chile and Argentina witnessed the total solar eclipse on Dec. 14, 2020, unbeknownst to skywatchers, a little tiny speck was flying past the Sun -- a recently discovered comet.
Scientists from Japan and NASA have confirmed the presence in meteorites of a key organic molecule which may have been used to build other organic molecules, including some used by life. The discovery validates theories of the formation of organic compounds in extraterrestrial environments.
On December 10, 2020 (Hawai?i Standard Time), the Subaru Telescope imaged the small asteroid 1998 KY26, the target of Hayabusa2's extended mission. The positional data for 1998 KY26 collected during the observations will be used to more accurately determine the orbital elements of this object.
An international research team led by the University of Bern has discovered an exotic binary system composed of two young planet-like objects, orbiting around each other from a very large distance. Although these objects look like giant exoplanets, they formed in the same way as stars, proving that the mechanisms driving star formation can produce rogue worlds in unusual systems deprived of a Sun.
Astronomers think planets can exist in orbits far from their star, and propose a two-step process: interactions with the star or inner planets kick it out of the inner system, and then a passing star stabilizes the orbit to keep it bound. Such a scenario could explain the hypothesized "Planet Nine" in our solar system. Astronomers has now confirmed that one binary star system, HD 106906, has a planet in a bound, highly eccentric orbit.
As part of the opening plenary session at the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation Digital Forum, Hitoshi Kuninaka, of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, will be discussing and responding to audience questions about the successful return of the Hayabusa2 capsule from its asteroid-sample mission, a second-time-in-history-success that marks exciting and innovating advances for the astronomical-instrumentation community. In addition, Kuninaka may have initial information regarding what potential treasures the capsule's sample container holds.
Scientists say that how dust moves and transforms around the sun may give them new insights to how Earth and its neighboring planets formed more than 4.5 billion years ago.