From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Meteor terminology
Mains level : Study of asteroids and meteors
An asteroid which made its landfall in Mukundpura village near Jaipur has been named after the same village and is under the study of Geological Survey of India, Kolkata.
Try this question from CSP 2014:
Q.What is a coma, in the content of astronomy?
(a) Bright half of material on the comet
(b) Long tail of dust
(c) Two asteroids orbiting each other
(d) Two planets orbiting each other
- The meteorite named Mukundpura CM2 was classified to be a carbonaceous chondrite.
- This is a type of stony meteorite, considered the most primitive meteorite and a remnant of the first solid bodies to accrete in the solar system.
- The composition of carbonaceous chondrites is also similar to the Sun.
- Chondrites are silicate-droplet-bearing meteorites, and this Mukundpura chondrite is the fifth carbonaceous meteorite known to fall in India.
Why it is important to study meteorites?
- Meteorites are representative of asteroids.
- Asteroids are the remnant debris of the inner solar system formation process and thus offer the formation history or the building blocks of the planets.
- Therefore, by studying meteorites in the laboratory and asteroids by exploration and sample return mission we try to reconstruct the activity of early solar system events.
- Also, asteroids are often rich in volatiles and other minerals and can be exploited for future planetary exploration.
Do you know?
Meteorites are broadly classified into three groups – stony (silicate-rich), iron (Fe–Ni alloy), and stony-iron (mixed silicate–iron alloy).
Details of its study
- The study revealed that Mukundpura CM2 had experienced varying degrees of alteration during the impact.
- Some minerals like forsterite and FeO olivine, calcium aluminium rich inclusion (CAI) minerals escaped alteration.
- Few magnetites, sulphides and calcites were also found.
- Detailed spectroscopic studies revealed that the meteorite had very high (about 90%) phyllosilicate minerals comprising both magnesium and iron.
- Further X-ray studies showed it also had aluminium complexes.
Relevance to asteroids
- The results of the Mukundpura CM2 study are relevant to the surface composition of near-Earth asteroids Ryugu and Bennu.
- In October 2020, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission collected samples from Bennu and is expected to return in September 2023.
- Last month, Japan’s Hayabusa-2 mission landed on Earth with samples from Ryugu.