Dr Rene Duffard, who is presenting results at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam on Wednesday 22nd August, said, “We appear to have detected basalt on the surface of these asteroids, which is very unusual for this part of the asteroid belt. We do not know whether we have discovered two basaltic asteroids with a very particular and previously unseen mineralogical composition or two objects of non basaltic nature that have to be included in a totally new taxonomic class.”
The presence of basalt means that the asteroid must have melted partially at some time in the past, which implies that it was once part of a larger body which had internal heating processes. However, there do not appear to be other basaltic fragments in the region and, from spectral analysis, it is not clear whether the two are fragments of the same parent body or not.
Until recently, most of the known basaltic asteroids, which are classified as V-type, were thought to be fragments of Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt. Since 2001, several V-type asteroids have been identified as not belonging to this Vesta family, including (1459) Magnya, the first basaltic object to be detected in the outer asteroid belt.
Dr Duffard, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia in Spain, and his colleague, Dr Fernando Roig, from the Observatorio Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, selected the two asteroids, (7472) Kumakiri and (10537) 1991 RY16, for investigation by from a group of six candidate V-type asteroids identified using photometric data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).
The reflectance spectra of the two bodies seem to show the characteristics of a V-type asteroid. However, there is a shallow absorption band around the wavelength of red visible light, which has never been observed before in other V-type spectra. This means that these objects have a slightly different chemical composition and do not fit into any existing category of asteroid. The unexpected dip in the spectra could have two sources: it could be due to impacts with other asteroids or comets “shocking” iron-rich compounds into a oxidized state, or it could indicate the presence of olivine, a green mineral that is also known as the semi-precious gemstone.
Dr Duffard said, “We need now to observe both objects in the near-infrared range to confirm whether they have a basaltic surface. If they do, we will need to try and work out where they came from and the fate of their parent objects. If they do not, we will have to come up with a new class of asteroid.”
Anita Heward | alfa
Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions
27.04.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history
26.04.2017 | Southwest Research Institute
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences