Asteroid similar to size of dwarf planet that exploded over Sudan contained water, scientists find

An asteroid named 2008 TC3 that exploded in the atmosphere of the Earth in 2008 was part of a space rock that contained water, researchers have found.

The discovery was made when researchers analysed a fragment of a piece that landed in Almahata Sitta.

Researchers found an amphibole crystal in this fragment of an asteroid. Amphiboles have hydroxyl groups that can remain stable only in the presence of water. Hence researchers concluded that this parent asteroid was formed in the presence of water.

The Almahata Sitta meteorite is one of the 600 meteorites that was formed after the asteroid exploded in Sudan over a decade ago. When the explosion had happened, witnesses had said that it looked like a fireball. It is a kind carbonaceous chondrite stone.

It is rare to find amphiboles in carbonaceous chondrite stones. It was found as a trace component previously in 1969 in Mexico in the Allende meteorite.

The meteorite has been kept at the University of Khartoum, Sudan, and researchers from the US have taken a fragment for the analysis. It has been found that the parent body was 640 to 1,800 kilometres in diameter, a size similar to a dwarf planet.

Vicky Hamilton, an author of the study published in the Nature Astronomy journal said, “Our surprising result suggests the existence of a large, water-rich parent body.”

Vicky who is from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, US was given a fragment weighing 50 milligrams.

He along with his colleagues examined the composition of the fragment with the help of an infrared microscope.