A new study on Russian Chelyabinsk meteorite has shed a light on the long-standing debate about the source of the asteroid that impacted the Earth and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Astronomers have debated whether the dinosaur killer was linked to the breakup of a large asteroid forming the Baptistina Asteroid Family (BAF) beyond Mars, some of which ended up on Earth-crossing orbits. The asteroid impacting Earth is thought to have been dark and carbonaceous. The BAF hypothesis was bolstered by them being dark and with a spectral shape similar to carbonaceous meteorites.
Analysis of the Chelyabinsk meteorite shows that shock produced during catastrophic disruption of a large asteroid can darken otherwise bright silicate material. Shock darkening was first reported by Dan Britt (now at the University of Central Florida) in the early 1990s.