The impact and recovery of asteroid 2008 TC3

Nature The impact and recovery of asteroid 2008 TC3 The impact and recovery of asteroid 2008 TC3 Nature 458, 485 (2009). doi:10.1038/nature07920 Authors: 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, A. Fitzsimmons, S. Duddy, H. H. Hsieh, G. Ramsay, P. G. Brown, W. N. Edwards, E. Tagliaferri, M. B. Boslough, R. 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
 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 554-995?nm wavelength range, and designated 2008 TC3 (refs 4-6). It subsequently hit the Earth. Because it exploded at 37?km 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 3.95?kg. 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.


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