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Using the infrared satellite AKARI, a Japanese research team has detected the existence of water in the form of hydrated minerals in a number of asteroids for the first time. This discovery will contribute to our understanding of the distribution of water in our solar system, the evolution of asteroids, and the origin of water on Earth.

The findings were made by the team led by the Project Assistant Professor Fumihiko Usui (Graduate School of Science, Kobe University), the Associate Senior Researcher Sunao Hasegawa, the Aerospace Project Research Associate Takafumi Ootsubo (Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), and Professor Emeritus Takashi Onaka (Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo). The results were published on December 17 in the online Advanced Access edition of Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan.

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