Washington, Jan 7 (ANI): Scientists have found in space a chunk that was once a part of the third-largest asteroid.
Using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, experts at University of North Dakota Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, have found a new kind of asteroid.
The mineralogical composition suggests that 1999 TA10 didn't originate from the outer crust of parent asteroid Vesta, but from deeper layers.
The find will now enable the scientists to determine the thickness ofesta's crust and study its internal structure.
In addition, the body with a diameter of approximately 525 kilometers is believed to be the only remaining protoplanet from the early phase of our solar system.
Using the NASA IRTF, the scientists were now able to analyze the infrared radiation that 1999 AT10 reflected into space and compared its characteristic spectral fingerprints with those of Vesta.
''These materials can be found in Vesta's mantle and crust. However, the ratio is decisive," said Dr. Andreas Nathues from MPS.
In the case of 1999 AT10 the concentration of iron is clearly lower than in any known Vestoids.
"This all points to 1999 TA10 having originated from the interior of Vesta," said Nathues.
Now NASA's mission Dawn to be launched in 2011 will rendezvous with Vesta and orbit the asteroid for a year and gather more information about the asteroid that the scientists can study. (ANI)