The impact and recovery of asteroid 2008 TC3

P. Jenniskens, M.H. Shaddad, D. Numan, S. Elsir, A.M. Kudoda, M.E. Zolensky, L. Le, G.A. Robinson, J.M. Friedrich, D. Rumble, A. Steele, S.R. Chesley, Alan Fitzsimmons, Samuel Duddy, Henry Hsieh, G. Ramsay, P.G. Brown, W.N. Edwards, E. Tagliaferri, M.B. BosloughR.E. Spalding, R. Dantowitz, M. Kozubal, P. Pravec, J. Borovicka, Z. Charvat, J. Vaubaillon, J. Kuiper, J. Albers, J.L. Bishop, R.L. Mancinelli, S.A. Sandford, S.N. Milam, M. Nuevo, S.P. Worden

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222 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the absence of a firm link between individual meteorites and their asteroidal parent bodies, asteroids are typically characterized only by their light reflection properties, and grouped accordingly into classes. On 6 October 2008, a small asteroid was discovered with a flat reflectance spectrum in the 554-995nm wavelength range, and designated 2008 TC3 (refs 4-6). It subsequently hit the Earth. Because it exploded at 37km altitude, no macroscopic fragments were expected to survive. Here we report that a dedicated search along the approach trajectory recovered 47 meteorites, fragments of a single body named Almahata Sitta, with a total mass of 3.95kg. Analysis of one of these meteorites shows it to be an achondrite, a polymict ureilite, anomalous in its class: ultra-fine-grained and porous, with large carbonaceous grains. The combined asteroid and meteorite reflectance spectra identify the asteroid as F class, now firmly linked to dark carbon-rich anomalous ureilites, a material so fragile it was not previously represented in meteorite collections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-488
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume458
Issue number7237
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2009

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    Jenniskens, P., Shaddad, M. H., Numan, D., Elsir, S., Kudoda, A. M., Zolensky, M. E., Le, L., Robinson, G. A., Friedrich, J. M., Rumble, D., Steele, A., Chesley, S. R., Fitzsimmons, A., Duddy, S., Hsieh, H., Ramsay, G., Brown, P. G., Edwards, W. N., Tagliaferri, E., ... Worden, S. P. (2009). The impact and recovery of asteroid 2008 TC3. Nature, 458(7237), 485-488. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07920