The Hayabusa mission to asteroid 25143, Itokawa, brought back 2000 small particles, which most closely resemble material found in LL4-6 chondrites. We report an 40Ar/39Ar age of 1.3 ± 0.3 Ga for a sample of Itokawa consisting of three grains with a total mass of ~2 μg. This age is lower than the >4.0 Ga ages measured for 75% of LL chondrites but close to one for Y-790964 and its pairs. The flat 40Ar/39Ar release spectrum of the sample suggests complete degassing 1.3 Ga ago. Recent solar heating in Itokawa's current orbit does not appear likely to have reset that age. Solar or impact heating 1.3 Ga ago could have done so. If impact heating was responsible, then the 1.3 Ga age sets an upper bound on the time at which the Itokawa rubble pile was assembled and suggests that rubble pile creation was an ongoing process in the inner solar system for at least the first 3 billion years of solar system history.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Space and Planetary Science