When the capsule containing samples from an asteroid dropped to Earth from outer space, scientists were delighted by what they found. The material was much more pristine than expected, with chemistry and mineralogy indicating the asteroid remains relatively unchanged since it formed 4.5 billion years ago.
The sample contained small white grains that were analyzed for their composition and size. The analysis found that the particles included silicon-rich glass and quartz. The findings offer an unprecedented look into the ingredients of the solar system before Earth.
The scientists also found that the density of the sample was similar to what is found in asteroids in the asteroid belt, indicating it is one of the least-altered asteroids known to science.
The researchers also believe that the asteroid from which the sample was taken could be an excellent target for future studies. As the amount of information yielded from the sample was so large, more studies are needed to better understand the asteroid from which it was taken. For now, however, the discovery of the pristine sample is a pleasant surprise and offers scientists a unique window into the outer reaches of the solar system.