Japan’s asteroid hunter finds Asteroid Ryugu’s been approaching Sun a little bit too much. Hayabusa2 was developed by JAXA and enrolled in a challenging mission back in December 2014. The spacecraft realized a beeline for the whirling-top-shaped space object Ryugu, which orbits the Sun between Mars and Earth.
After hunting Asteroid Ryugu for four years, the spacecraft finally reached the potentially hazardous cosmic feature in 2018. Since then, Hayabusa2 released two rovers and three robots on Ryugu’s rocky surface. The results were astonishing, and currently, JAXA is trying to figure out as many mysteries as possible.
New research by the JAXA scientists and collaborators utilized the high-resolution pictures shot during a close-up with Ryugu in February 2019 to unveil a few of the asteroid’s mysteries.
One of the spaceship’s aims was to take a sample of Ryugu’s rocky surface. Almost a year of surveying the asteroid’s ground with onboard cameras led to the challenging heist, offering asteroid hunters a lot of data.
The Secrets of Asteroid Ryugu has been partly solved by Hayabusa2
The pictures shot by Hayabusa2’s telescopic optical navigation camera (ONC-T) allowed the study team to examine the spectral signature of Ryugu’s surface. The research had explained how, similar to an onion, Ryugu is made of layers, but in red and blue.
The red color displays the mid-latitude areas, and blue shows the poles and the equator. The impact craters also appeared to be blue. When Hayabusa reached Ryugu’s ground last year, debris was dismissed and scattered all over the surface.
The probe’s touchdown location was in a region with the more blue surface material. But once it had touched down abruptly and taken off again, a layer of dark, fine red particles were scattered upon Ryugu’s surface.
These things hinted at a solar detour that Asteroid Ryugu might have realized approximately 300,000 years ago. Over time, impacts or wasting have mixed the bluish and the reddish dust on the asteroid’s ground together, as Hayabusa2 probe revealed.