Itokawa, the asteroid that could explain the origin of Earth's water
Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft was sent to asteroid Itokawa to capture dust samples and brought them back on earth in 2010. Scientists at Arizona State University (ASU) announced on May, 1st that they found traces of water in them.
Why it is important. Scientists struggle to find the origin of water found on Earth. The presence of this element in asteroids was first confirmed in 2010, through spectral analysis of infrared telescope images. This new result is the first direct evidence of water on asteroids. Furthermore, the nuclear signature of the water discovered in Itokawa is indistinguishable from Earth’s water property. ASU's scientists assessed that stony asteroids made of silicates like Itokawa could have delivered up to half of Earth’s water supply early in our planet’s formation history.