Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) has found a connection between the Rajasthan meteorite which hit Mukundpura, near Jaipur, and the cosmic material retrieved by a Japanese mission.
The meteorite was subsequently labelled Mukundpura-CM2. On December 5, 2020, carbonaceous material was recovered from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu by the Japanese Hayabusa-2 mission. The operation involved intricate manoeuvres to gather dust from the moving asteroid. PRL has determined that Hayabusa-2’s yield has an analogue in Mukundpura-CM2.
The Mukundpura meteorite is considered a part of asteroids that were formed about 4.5 billion years ago. Of approximately 60,000 meteorites held in official repositories around the world, only about 500 are like Mukundpura-CM2 — one of the most primitive meteorites. It is a remnant of the first solid bodies to form in the solar system.
PRL scientists and associates have found that through its existence, Mukundpura-CM2 had experienced varying levels of reaction between its original minerals and water resulting in it collecting approximately 90% of its phyllosilicates. These are a complex mixture of minerals including micas, chlorite, talc, and clay minerals comprising both magnesium and iron.
The study involved S Baliyan, Dwijesh Ray, D K Panda, and AD Shukla of the PRL; H Moitra and S Gupta of IIT-Kharagpur; and S Sarkar and S Bhattacharya of Isro-SAC.