Water found in samples from surface of asteroid

Space										
		
																	Japan found water on an asteroid and it could reveal secrets about Earth					
								
			
	
		Mike Wehner

The discovery of a fictional asteroid will be briefed to the participants in the exercise which has a chance of one in hundred of impacting the Earth in the year 2027.

"We'll observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes", Brozović said.

The planetary science community argues that asteroids were the first objects to form in our solar system and that terrestrial planets - Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars - grew bigger with the accretion of small asteroids and comets.

To the team's surprise, the results indicated that the samples from Itokawa were unexpectedly rich in water - even though they came from the surface of the asteroid where they were the most susceptible to damage.

NASA has participated in six similar NEO impact exercises to date. And the worldwide asteroid research community is excited. This led scientists to speculate that rubble-pile asteroids like Itokawa would be bone dry. Apophis was discovered in 2004 by a team from the National Observatory of Kitt Peak (Arizona, USA).

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At the annual Planetary Defense Conference being held this week in Maryland, scientists discussed the wide ranging research opportunities that the asteroid flyby will provide, while offering insights into what the general public can expect when the rock makes its pass.

"The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science", Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a NASA press release. "The minerals have hydrogen isotopic compositions that are indistinguishable from Earth", according to Jin, who also said that the minerals from the asteroid still show evidence of water that has not been lost to space when Itokawa's parent body met a catastrophic collision. In addition, the possibility of sending a mission to the asteroid was raised.

Questions about how Earth's gravity could affect the asteroid as it passes by, whether they could learn about an asteroid's interior during the flyby, and whether sending a spacecraft mission to Apophis would be feasible were asked. After reaching its closest point, the asteroid will move towards the daytime sky and will no longer be visible. It will be mid-morning on the U.S. East Coast when the asteroid is above Australia.

At closest approach, just before 6 p.m. It is moving so fast that it can cross the Atlantic in about an hour. By 7 p.m. Eastern, the asteroid will have crossed over the continental U.S.

A decade from now, on April 13, 2029, a giant asteroid known as Apophis, named after the Egyptian god of chaos, will streak past Earth as close as some orbiting spacecraft.

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