New Meteorite Suggests that Asteroid Surfaces More Complex than Previously Thought

Meteor fragments, of irregular shape, dark with lighter specs. About a dozen are the size of small stones or pebbles. Ohers are very small, some like grains of sand.

Meteorites that had fallen from an asteroid impact that lit up the skies over California and Nevada in April are showing scientists just how complex an asteroid surface can be. A new study published in Science this week by an international team of researchers describes the speedy recovery of the meteorites and reports that this space rock is an unusual example from a rare group known as carbonaceous chondrites, which contain some of the oldest material in the solar system. The study of these meteorites and others like them could hold answers to unsolved mysteries about the origin of life on Earth as they contain molecules such as water and amino acids.