A meteorite that fell in 2018 and was found in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana may be a fragment of Vesta, the second largest asteroid in the Solar System. The asteroid named 2018 LA was first identified by the Catalina Sky Survey of the University of Arizona (USA) as the faint point of light between stars.
Uniting information obtained by the University of Arizona with the SkyMapper Telescope at Australian National University (ANU), which caught the rock before it broke through the atmosphere, scientists felt that the meteorite disintegrated in the central Kalahari Game Reserve, National Park Park in the Kalahari Desert.
23 pieces of meteorite were found, originally measured 1.5 meters in diameter and flown into space for about 22 to 23 million years before reaching Earth.
Experts analyzed their isotopes – that is, versions of the chemical elements of various neutrons seen in the periodic table. They indicate the chemical composition and size of the original asteroid before it exploded into the atmosphere.
According to the SETI Institute, which led the expedition in search of fragments, an in-depth analysis of the rocks revealed that their composition resembled a set of meteorites called Saarik that fell in Turkey in 2015.
“Linking observations of small asteroids in space with information gathered from meteorites suggests that it probably came from Vesta, the second largest asteroid in our solar system and the mission’s target Don and nasa“Said Meteorologist Peter Janiskens of the Seti Institute.
Both sets of meteorite that fell in Turkey and the AL 2018 fragments were classified as Howardite – Eukrite – Diogenite (HED) meteorites, the only class of meteorites derived from Vesta.
“Millions of years ago, two massive impacts on Vesta created a family of larger and more dangerous asteroids. The newly recovered meteors have given us a clue as to when these effects might occur,” Geniscens said.
According to a publication in the journal Science, HED meteorites have hardened lava from the surface of the Vesta and minerals from rocks buried under its surface. The meteorite is formed like a fracture, that is, a cemented mixture of different pieces of rock that comes from different parts of the asteroid.
Those responsible for the discovery reported in a study in the journal Meteorology and Planetary Sciences that LA 2018 also points to Vesta as a point of origin, the orbital path that revolves around the Earth. The rock was traveling at 60,000 km / h before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.