On Feb. 15, 2013, a 20-meter rock crashed into the Earth after a meteoroid broke up upon entering the atmosphere over the Chelyabinsk area of Russia. Hundreds were injured.
A new paper published in the journal Icarus discusses the elusive parent asteroid from whence the meteorite came, according to a press release from the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) in Tuscon, Ariz.
A 2-km near-Earth asteroid (NEA) designated (86039) 1999 NC43 was the first candidate, thought astronomers. "These two bodies shared similar orbits around the Sun, and initial studies suggested even similar compositions," said PSI research scientist and lead author Vishnu Reddy, according to the press release.
Re-analysis shows that the near-Earth asteroid isn't the source.
"The composition of Chelyabinsk meteorite that was recovered after the event is similar to a common type of meteorite called LL chondrites," Reddy said. "However, the near-Earth asteroid has a composition that is distinctly different from this."
The researchers also noted that linking meteorites to a specific asteroid is tricky because the orbits of the rocks are frenzied and unorganized.
According to the press release, the research was supported by grants from NASA's Planetary Mission Data Analysis Program, NEOO Program and Planetary Geology and Geophysics Program.
The Planetary Science Institute is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.