In 2010, an important event occurred for spacecommunity event - the asteroid Itokawa became the first of its kind, soil samples of which were delivered to Earth. The materials obtained are still carefully studied by researchers from around the world, for example, a group of scientists from the University of Arizona looked for particles of water in them. Finally, they were found, and scientists have yet another proof that the vital water on Earth appeared due to the fall of asteroids.
To detect traces of water molecules, scientistsused a rather complex, but accurate mass spectral analysis. The technology consists in determining the mass-to-charge ratio of ions that are formed during the ionization of soil samples — in other words, weighting the molecules in the sample. This is one of the most accurate ways to search for substances contained in it and determine their quantity.
In the soil samples was found a mineral calledpyroxene, the crystal structure of which contains water. From this it follows that the Itokawa asteroid is rich in water, which supports the theory that it and similar objects can be the main suppliers of fluid to developing planets. In fact, more than half of the water on Earth can have a cosmic origin.
It is noteworthy that Itokawa is notthe only asteroid containing water. At the end of 2018, the OSIRIS-Rex probe signaled its presence on the Bennu asteroid, soil samples of which will be delivered to Earth in 2023. Also, soil samples were collected from Ryugu asteroid - the Japanese probe Hayabusa-2 was engaged in this.
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