Itokawa Dust Particles: A Direct Link Between S-Type Asteroids and Ordinary Chondrites

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Science  26 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6046, pp. 1113-1116
DOI: 10.1126/science.1207758

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The Hayabusa spacecraft successfully recovered dust particles from the surface of near-Earth asteroid 25143 Itokawa. Synchrotron-radiation x-ray diffraction and transmission and scanning electron microscope analyses indicate that the mineralogy and mineral chemistry of the Itokawa dust particles are identical to those of thermally metamorphosed LL chondrites, consistent with spectroscopic observations made from Earth and by the Hayabusa spacecraft. Our results directly demonstrate that ordinary chondrites, the most abundant meteorites found on Earth, come from S-type asteroids. Mineral chemistry indicates that the majority of regolith surface particles suffered long-term thermal annealing and subsequent impact shock, suggesting that Itokawa is an asteroid made of reassembled pieces of the interior portions of a once larger asteroid.

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