Water Evidence Detected on Many Asteroids by Japan Team

Science Society

Tokyo, Dec. 18 (Jiji Press)--A group of Japanese researchers have found evidence of the existence of water on a number of asteroids through analyses of data from an infrared imaging satellite dubbed Akari.

Fumihiko Usui, specially appointed assistant professor at Kobe University, and colleagues discovered minerals that contain water on 17 so-called C-type asteroids, the same type as Ryugu asteroid, on which Hayabusa2 spacecraft has landed, the university, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the University of Tokyo announced on Monday.

This was the first confirmation in the world of the existence of water on C-type asteroids, the three Japanese institutes said.

In the project, the team observed 66 asteroids including 22 C-type bodies using infrared rays via Akari to find hydrated minerals, which absorb only infrared rays with specific wave lengths.

"As many more asteroids are believed to have existed when Earth was born, chances cannot be ruled out that those asteroids supplied water to the planet," Usui said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press