UNM professor part of published study on historic asteroid samples

Posted: September 22, 2022

By Savannah Peat

There are one million known in existence, each with their own set of unknowns.

With no atmosphere, varying shapes, sizes, and compositions, there are many questions when it comes to asteroids, the minor planets which orbit within our solar system.

One of those puzzles is one step closer together to completion thanks to a massive team of international scientists including University of New Mexico professor of mineralogy Adrian Brearley.

UNM Professor Adrian Brearley

Brearley was asked to be part of The Hayabusa2 Initial Analysis Team, after Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science retrieved the first ever, unique samples back from an asteroid named Ryugu.

He was within one of six sub-teams and two Phase-2 curation institutions, Okayama University and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) Kochi Institute for Core Sample Research, all diving into this scarce discovery.

In a study published today in Science.org, titled Formation and evolution of carbonaceous asteroid Ryugu: Direct evidence from returned samples, Brearley and other members of his sub-team are highlighting why these pristine samples are so critical to understanding our solar system.

“I was honored to be involved in it. It was really such a remarkable success,” Brearley said.


Read more at the UNM Newsroom



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