NASA conducts analysis of asteroid Ryugu sample brought by JAXA’s Hayabusa2

The first sample of asteroid Ryugu has recently arrived at the Johnson Space Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The sample is the first one to which has been sent to NASA for further investigation, according to a NASA blog. These samples were gathered by Hayabusa2, the spacecraft created by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA.

The scientists analysing asteroid Ryugu include Mike Zolensky who is the deputy leader of the mineralogy-petrology subteam for the preliminary analysis effort. He has analysed the sample to determine its basic nature. Jangmi Han from the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division also worked along with Zolensky to study the Ryugu sample. NASA’s James Martinez from the Structural Engineering Division at Johnson Space Center also worked on the asteroid Ryugu sample. The Scanning Electron Microscopy Lab of the Center was also used for sample analysis.

Image: NASA

The Science Times reports that the analysis gave results in five days. NASA has conducted the analysis to determine if there is any evidence of correlation between the composition of Ryugu and our planet. The results would give scientists insight into the formation of the solar system, origin of Earth and its evolution.

A previous study which was published over a month ago found that the boulders on the asteroids have 70 percent empty space. reports that they have been found to be as porous as the ancient planetesimals. This suggests that these rocks may contain remnants of the solar system.

The samples from Ryugu's surface were captured by the Hayabusa2 in 2019. They were returned to Earth in December 2020.

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