Research ArticleSPACE SCIENCES

New clues to ancient water on Itokawa

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Science Advances  01 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaav8106
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav8106


We performed the first measurements of hydrogen isotopic composition and water content in nominally anhydrous minerals collected by the Hayabusa mission from the S-type asteroid Itokawa. The hydrogen isotopic composition (δD) of the measured pyroxene grains is −79 to −53‰, which is indistinguishable from that in chondritic meteorites, achondrites, and terrestrial rocks. Itokawa minerals contain water contents of 698 to 988 parts per million (ppm) weight, after correcting for water loss during parent body processes and impact events that elevated the temperature of the parent body. We infer that the Bulk Silicate Itokawa parent body originally had 160 to 510 ppm water. Asteroids like Itokawa that formed interior to the snow line could therefore have been a potential source of water (up to 0.5 Earth’s oceans) during the formation of Earth and other terrestrial planets.

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