After conducting a chemical analysis of the Ryugu asteroid, the researchers came to the conclusion that a large part of the Earth’s mass may be composed of bodies like Ryugu.

Scientists have been examining the cargo of the Hajabusza-2 spacecraft since its landing in 2020. The device brought a sample from the Ryugu asteroid to Earth, and even these few grams are enough to obtain new information about the formation of the solar system and our planet. French researchers say IFLScience – This time they examined the chemical composition of the substance: they were specifically interested in traces of zinc and copper.

Each chemical element has many differences depending on the number of neutrons in its nucleus. This does not change the chemical, but the physical property, as the mass of the isotopes varies. The ratio of these substances in a material is important because their properties can be considered a chemical fingerprint of the material. If we project all this onto an asteroid, we get information not only about its current composition, but also about its origin.

In the case of Ryugu, the team confirmed that isotopes of copper and zinc make it similar to the one found in Ivona in Tanzania, and revealed that it belongs to a group of carbonaceous chondrites. There are only nine of them in the world, so they can be considered the rarest. They are believed to have originated in the outer solar system and eventually migrated inwards.

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Their results are natural astronomy Published in a journal. The study revealed that meteorites from asteroids that formed near the sun have a different signature than Ryugu, and Earth has a different signature, too—somewhere in between. Taking this as a basis, the researchers calculate that meteorites similar to Ryugu may account for roughly 6 percent of Earth’s mass.

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