Boulders discovered on the surface of a recently-explored asteroid share similarities to rocks from meteorites that crashed into Earth, according to a new study, providing insight into the origins of our planet’s geology.
Images taken on the surface of Ryugu show dust-free rocks that wouldn’t look out of place on Earth, a group of European and Japanese scientists wrote in a paper published in the journal Science.
Currently being explored by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa-2, Ryugu contains rocks which resemble meteorites found on Earth.
The findings mark the first time that rocks and boulders found on Earth have been seen in their “original habitat” in space.
“This is the first time ever that we’ve seen a boulder of something that ends up passing through the atmosphere, something we have in museums and laboratories all around the world,” Kerri Donaldson Hanna, a planetary geologist, told Gizmodo.
More exciting discoveries are expected once Hayabusa-2 returns to Earth with the geological samples it collected, allowing scientists to study the Earth-like space rocks up close.
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