Meteorite studies suggest that each solar system object has a unique oxygen isotopic composition. Chondrites, the most primitive of meteorites, have been believed to be derived from asteroids, but oxygen isotopic compositions of asteroids themselves have not been established. We measured, using secondary ion mass spectrometry, oxygen isotopic compositions of rock particles from asteroid 25143 Itokawa returned by the Hayabusa spacecraft. Compositions of the particles are depleted in (16)O relative to terrestrial materials and indicate that Itokawa, an S-type asteroid, is one of the sources of the LL or L group of equilibrated ordinary chondrites. This is a direct oxygen-isotope link between chondrites and their parent asteroid.
Science 08/2011; 333(6046):1116-9. DOI:10.1126/science.1207776 · 31.48 Impact Factor