On the origin of the Almahata Sitta meteorite and 2008 TC3 asteroid

Authors

  • Julie Gayon-Markt,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratoire Lagrange UMR 7293, Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, B.P. 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
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  • Marco Delbo,

    1. Laboratoire Lagrange UMR 7293, Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, B.P. 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
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  • Alessandro Morbidelli,

    1. Laboratoire Lagrange UMR 7293, Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, B.P. 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
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  • Simone Marchi

    1. Laboratoire Lagrange UMR 7293, Université Nice Sophia-Antipolis, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, B.P. 4229, 06304 Nice Cedex 4, France
    2. NASA Lunar Science Institute, Center for Lunar Origin and Evolution, Southwest Research Institute, 1050 Walnut St, Suite 300, Boulder, CO 80302, USA
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E-mail: julie.gayon@oca.eu

ABSTRACT

Asteroid 2008 TC3 was a near-Earth asteroid that impacted the Earth on 2008 October 7. Meteorites were produced by the break-up of 2008 TC3 in the high atmosphere and at present, about 600 meteorites – called Almahata Sitta – coming from 2008 TC3 have been recovered. A mineralogical study of Almahata Sitta fragments shows that the asteroid 2008 TC3 was made of meteorites of different types (ureilites, H, L and E chondrites). Understanding the origin of this body and how it was put together remain a challenge. Here we perform a detailed spectroscopical and dynamical investigation to show that the most likely source region of 2008 TC3 is in the inner main belt at low inclination (i < 8°). We show that asteroids with spectroscopic classes that can be associated with the different meteorite types of Almahata Sitta are present in the region of the main belt that includes the Nysa-Polana family and objects of the background at low inclination. Searching for a possible scenario of formation for 2008 TC3, we show that there is little chance that 2008 TC3 was formed by low-velocity collisions between asteroids of different mineralogies, in the current asteroid belt. It seems more likely that the heterogeneous composition of 2008 TC3 was inherited from a time when the asteroid belt was in a different dynamical state, most likely in the very early Solar system. Because ureilites are fragments of a large, thermally metamorphosed asteroid, this suggests that the phases of collisional erosion (the break-up of the ureilite parent body) and collisional accretion (the formation of the parent body of 2008 TC3) overlapped for some time in the primordial asteroid belt.

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