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According to new study meteorites that fell over Sudan in 2008 could have come from a space rock that was formed by a triple-asteroid pileup, a collision between three different types of space rocks. Scientists analyzed meteorite fragments and found that they contain an unusual mix of material from both primitive and evolved types of asteroids.The meteorites came from asteroid 2008 TC3, which impacted the Earth and rained more than 600 fragments across the Nubian Desert in Sudan. The meteorite fragments are collectively known as Almahata Sitta, which is Arabic for “Station Six,” a train station between the Sudanese cities of Wadi Halfa and Khartoum, near where the fragments were found.
According to study leader Julie Gayon-Markt, of the Observatoire de la Cote d’Azur in France, recent studies of the dynamics and spectroscopy of asteroids in the main asteroid belt shed light on the origin of the Almahata Sitta fragments.Study show that the Nysa-Polana asteroid family, located in the inner main belt is a very good candidate for the origin of 2008 TC3. The Nysa-Polana family of asteroids, located in the inner main asteroid belt, is divided into three different types: the primitive B-type asteroids, which are relatively rare, stony S-type asteroids, and intermediate X-type asteroids. Both S-type and X-type asteroids have undergone some kind of thermal evolution in their past.Gayon-Markt and her colleagues found materials from all three Nysa-Polana asteroid types in the Almahata Sitta fragments. Their findings suggest that asteroid 2008 TC3 formed from the impact of an S-type object in the inner main asteroid belt with a B-type object from the Nysa-Polana family. This was followed by a second impact with an X-type asteroid also from the Nysa-Polana family.
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