For the very first time, scientists are going to receive their own (carefully gloved) hands-on asteroid dirt so outdated it might include clues to how our solar system formed and water got to Earth.
A capsule comprising two smidgens of grime out of asteroid Ryugu arrived in Japan on December 7, by which investigators will eventually get an opportunity to measure just how much has been collected. The objective of Japan’s Hayabusa2 assignment was to gather at least 100 mg of both surface and subsurface material and ship it back to Earth.
“We gathered the treasure box”
Planetary scientists believe it includes some of the first solids to form from the solar system, which makes it a time capsule of solar system history.
Hayabusa2 researched Ryugu from June 2018 into November 2019, also captured two samples of this asteroid (SN: 2/22/19). One came from within an artificial crater which Hayabusa2 blasted to the asteroid’s surface, providing the spacecraft access into the asteroid’s inside (SN: 4/5/19). On December 4, the spacecraft published the sample return capsule from approximately 220,000 km above the planet’s surface. The capsule produced a brilliant fireball since it streaked through the planet’s atmosphere.
In a”quick look facility” at Woomera, electrons that the asteroid material could have been originally examined. However, the capsule will not be opened till after it reaches the JAXA center in Sagamihara, Japan.
Hayabusa2 is your next assignment to successfully reunite an asteroid sample to Earth. Engineering and logistical issues supposed that its recurrence has been years later than intended, and it caught just 1,534 grains of asteroid substance (SN: 6/14/10).
For Hayabusa2, however, what appears to have gone according to plan. The spacecraft itself has sufficient fuel to see a different asteroid, 1998 KY26, that can be smaller and twists faster than Ryugu. It will research how these asteroids may have shaped, how they maintain themselves together, and what may occur if a person collided with Earth. The spacecraft will realize that asteroid in July 2031, though it will not require any more samples.