Asteroid Ryugu is older than the Sun, Earth, even solar system, says this shocking new discovery

    Asteroid Ryugu’s collected samples revealed that they are aged even before the solar system was made. Know all details here.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Aug 21 2022, 22:22 IST
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    Asteroid and Earth
    1/5 Space is full of objects, out of which only a few have been discovered. Asteroids are some of these objects. If you are not aware about the dangerous objects called asteroids, here are some facts you should know. First, did you know that asteroids are sometimes called minor planets? Well, they are. (Pixabay)
    Asteroid
    2/5 Differences between an Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite: According to the information provided by NASA, Asteroid is a relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun. Comet is a relatively small, at times active, object whose ice can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas. Meteoroid is a small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun. Meteor is the light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere and vaporizes, in short, a shooting star. While, Meteorite is a meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth's atmosphere and lands upon the Earth's surface. (NASA)
    Asteroid
    3/5 Asteroid: Size, frequency and impact- More than 100 tons of dust and sand sized particles are bombarded towards Earth everyday, according to NASA. While, about once a year, an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth's atmosphere, creates an impressive fireball, and burns up before reaching the surface. Every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth and causes significant damage to the area. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along. Impact craters on Earth, the moon and other planetary bodies are evidence of these occurrences. Space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage. By comparison, asteroids that populate the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and pose no threat to Earth, can be as big as 940 kilometers (about 583 miles) across. (NASA)
    Asteroid
    4/5 How is an Asteroid Orbit Calculated? An asteroid's orbit is computed by finding the elliptical path about the sun that best fits the available observations of the object. That is, the object's computed path about the sun is adjusted until the predictions of where the asteroid should have appeared in the sky at several observed times match the positions where the object was actually observed to be at those same times. (Pixabay)
    Asteroid
    5/5 What is NASA doing to find and learn more about potentially hazardous asteroids and comets? NASA has established a Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), managed in the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The PDCO ensures the early detection of potentially hazardous objects (PHOs) - asteroids and comets whose orbits are predicted to bring them within 0.05 Astronomical Units of Earth (5 million miles or 8 million kilometers) and of a size large enough to reach Earth's surface - that is, greater than approximately 30 to 50 meters. NASA tracks and characterizes these objects and issues warnings about potential impacts, providing timely and accurate information. NASA also leads the coordination of U.S. Government planning for response to an actual impact threat. (AFP)
    Asteroid
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    The latest study revealed some surprising facts about Asteroid Ryugu. (Representative Image) (NASA)

    The small fragments of the giant space rock named Asteroid Ryugu brought to Erth have led to a shocking discovery. Scientists have analyzed the samples of asteroid Ryugu that have revealed the presence of microscopic grains of ancient materials that are even older than the Sun, Earth or even the Solar System. The presence of some these grains of the asteroid indicate that parts of Ryugu may have remained unchanged since the formation of the asteroid, the researchers revealed in the paper titled "Presolar Stardust in Asteroid Ryugu" published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The Hayabusa2 spacecraft of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was designed to reeach and explore Asteroid Ryugu from June 2018 to November 2019 in order to reveal some scerets of the creation of life and the birth of the Solar System. The Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrived at asteroid Ryugu on June 27, 2018, collected samples during two touchdowns in 2019, and delivered it back to the Earth on December 6, 2020. Astonishingly, the study revealed that the returned samples of Asteroid Ryugu contain presolar stardust grains. What does it mean? Know in detail here.

    Asteroid Ryugu samples have a secret

    The researchers mentioned in the research paper that the abundances and compositions of the presolar stardust grains are similar to the presolar material found in CI chondrites. "Thus, our results provide further evidence that asteroid Ryugu is closely related to CI chondrites. However, small regions of Ryugu escaped extensive alteration and allowed their preservation," the researchers explained in their paper.

    Presolar grains are finished goods as snapshots of processes occurring in distant stars; as such, they are a direct record of those stars and their chemistry. This is due to the preservation of the isotope ratios in presolar grains. They can be studied to understand the evolution of stars other than the Sun and the rocks that make up the Solar System.

    More interestingly, these presolar grains are rare. They are frequently discovered in carbonaceous chondrites, which account for a relatively minor portion of all meteorites that strike the Earth. Furthermore, presolar grains have been discovered in only around 5 percent of carbonaceous chondrites.

    "They also reveal intriguing hints of small-scale heterogeneities in the Ryugu samples, such as locally distinct degrees of alteration that allowed the preservation of delicate presolar material," researchers mentioned.

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    First Published Date: 21 Aug, 22:22 IST
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