Scientists share initial analysis of samples from asteroid Ryugu

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,046   +152
Staff member
How we got here: Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) back in 2019 successfully collected samples from near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu using its Hayabusa2 spacecraft. The craft stored the samples in sealed containers and in November of the same year, started the return trip to Earth. In December 2020 as the craft passed by, it released the sample capsules, which entered our atmosphere and were successfully recovered in Australia. This week, we’re finally getting to see what scientists have discovered from studying the samples over the past year.

As Science Alert highlights, two papers recently published on the matter indicate Ryugu is dark and porous, and contains some of the oldest solar system material scientists have ever been able to get their hands on.

The first paper notes the C-type asteroid has an albedo (a measure of how much solar radiation it reflects) of 0.02. For comparison, most C-type asteroids fall in the 0.03 to 0.09 range. Asphalt is rated at 0.04. A rating of 0.02 albedo means the asteroid reflects just two percent of all solar radiation that hits it.

Ryugu also has a porosity of 46 percent, the paper further concluded.

Scientists with the second paper presented their findings regarding the composition of the recovered material, and found an extremely dark matrix that is possibly dominated by phyllosilicates. Other minerals including carbonates, iron and volatile compounds were also detected in the matrix.

Further analysis will no doubt shed even more light on the mysteries of Ryugu and perhaps, help astronomers better understand the early days of our solar system.

NASA, meanwhile, is in the middle of its own sample-return mission. In October 2020, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) spacecraft successfully sampled asteroid Bennu. The craft is expected to return the sample to Earth for analysis in late 2023.

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psycros

Posts: 4,080   +5,616
When I first heard Japan was going to retrieve rocks from space, needless to say my anime senses were tingling.
 

Godel

Posts: 297   +188
I found another sample from the Hyabusa2 mission to be more interesting.

"Our world-class atom probe tomography system here at Curtin University allowed us to take an incredibly detailed look inside the first 50 nanometers or so of the surface of [S (stony) type asteroid] Itokawa dust grains, which we found contained enough water that, if scaled up, would amount to about 20 liters (4.4 gal) for every cubic meter of rock."

https://newatlas.com/space/earths-water-came-from-sun-asteroid/

Twenty liters of water in every cubic meter of rock!
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,538   +7,376
I found another sample from the Hyabusa2 mission to be more interesting.

"Our world-class atom probe tomography system here at Curtin University allowed us to take an incredibly detailed look inside the first 50 nanometers or so of the surface of [S (stony) type asteroid] Itokawa dust grains, which we found contained enough water that, if scaled up, would amount to about 20 liters (4.4 gal) for every cubic meter of rock."

https://newatlas.com/space/earths-water-came-from-sun-asteroid/

Twenty liters of water in every cubic meter of rock!
I found the analysis of the material to be most relevant to the byproducts of star novas.

As for our origins, Isn't the line "we are star dust", (from the song, "Woodstock"), fairly accurate?

The silicate content was particularly interesting, since all stars don't have the necessary mass to sustain fusion all the way to iron. Silicon is the direct predecessor to iron in the fusion chain. Allegedly, our star, only has the mass to fuse as far as oxygen.
 
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JamesBlond

Posts: 171   +120
Sure they did, they loaned Superman who made a quick trip, broke some rocks free with his laser eyes and then brought it back for only china
 

Freddie159

Posts: 102   +71
I found another sample from the Hyabusa2 mission to be more interesting.

"Our world-class atom probe tomography system here at Curtin University allowed us to take an incredibly detailed look inside the first 50 nanometers or so of the surface of [S (stony) type asteroid] Itokawa dust grains, which we found contained enough water that, if scaled up, would amount to about 20 liters (4.4 gal) for every cubic meter of rock."

https://newatlas.com/space/earths-water-came-from-sun-asteroid/

Twenty liters of water in every cubic meter of rock!

It would be cool if they could get deeper inside one of these asteroids and check how far down that water content goes, because if it's all the way thru that supports the theory of asteroids bringing water to the early Earth and possibly other planets as well.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,538   +7,376
It would be cool if they could get deeper inside one of these asteroids and check how far down that water content goes, because if it's all the way thru that supports the theory of asteroids bringing water to the early Earth and possibly other planets as well.
Exactly how many asteroid hits do you think it would take to fill the earth's oceans? IMO, we'd be "Dust in the Wind" by now, if that were the case.

All sorts of byproducts occur from a stellar explosion. Ostensibly H2O, might one of them. We just happen be be in a zone where water can exist in its liquid form. Also, water is the byproduct of the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen. Once upon a time, the earth was hot enough to allow that to happen.

I would say our abundance of water, is likely from the gravitational condensation of gases from which muck of the planet was created.

Much of the earth's core is iron, which can only be created, (via fusion) from a star 100 times as massive as our sun. Simplistically, we a big blob of goo, spit out from a supernova.
 
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Godel

Posts: 297   +188
Exactly how many asteroid hits do you think it would take to fill the earth's oceans? IMO, we'd be "Dust in the Wind" by now, if that were the case.

All sorts of byproducts occur from a stellar explosion. Ostensibly H2O, might one of them. We just happen be be in a zone where water can exist in its liquid form. Also, water is the byproduct of the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen. Once upon a time, the earth was hot enough to allow that to happen.

I would say our abundance of water, is likely from the gravitational condensation of gases from which muck of the planet was created.

Much of the earth's core is iron, which can only be created, (via fusion) from a star 100 times as massive as our sun. Simplistically, we a big blob of goo, spit out from a supernova.
The theory is that the water didn't come "from" anywhere but was created by H+ ions from the solar wind stripping out some oxygen atoms from the silicon+oxygen silicates in the dust to eventually form H2O.

The water should be all through the asteroid as the dust would have been continually irradiated as it slowly built up on the asteroids surface.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,204   +2,593
TechSpot Elite
"Scientists with the second paper presented their findings regarding the composition of the recovered material, and found an extremely dark matrix that is possibly dominated by phyllosilicates. Other minerals including carbonates, iron and volatile compounds were also detected in the matrix."
So in other words; similar to what you'd find by the seashore... it's a rock. :laughing:
 

Athlonite

Posts: 305   +106
Exactly how many asteroid hits do you think it would take to fill the earth's oceans? IMO, we'd be "Dust in the Wind" by now, if that were the case.

You need to underrstand that back when the earth was first forming our solar system was a much busier place where earth would have been struck some 50~70 times a day by house sized meteors and there was no life on the surface as yet because it was just to hot and it wasn't until much later when the surface and atmosphere started to cool down that water started to form
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,538   +7,376
You need to underrstand that back when the earth was first forming our solar system was a much busier place where earth would have been struck some 50~70 times a day by house sized meteors and there was no life on the surface as yet because it was just to hot and it wasn't until much later when the surface and atmosphere started to cool down that water started to form
What's your point? Are you suggesting that "asteroids brought all the water here.

But yes, at the time of it's birth, earth was mostly a glob if molten iron and nickel ejecta, from a super nova.

Unlike the mineral-rich crust and mantle, the core is made almost entirely of metal—specifically, iron and nickel. The shorthand used for the core's iron-nickel alloys is simply the elements' chemical symbols—NiFe. Elements that dissolve in iron, called siderophiles, are also found in the core

Thus, if an asteroid struck it, it would have melted down and be absorbed.

 
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Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,204   +2,593
TechSpot Elite
As I understand it, it was billions, but it was spent by the Japanese.
Well, when I say "we", I mean humanity. It's not like Canada ever does anything like this. :laughing:
And stop calling it a rock, that's so damned disrespectful. It's, "an asteroid fragment", made of rock.
What's in a name? Would a rock by any other name not still be made primarily of silicates, iron, nickel, and other trace elements? :p

"If you hammer us, do we still not crack?" :laughing:
 
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Avro Arrow

Posts: 2,204   +2,593
TechSpot Elite
"If you pull on us do we not squirt"? 🤣
Only while we're still alive. ;)
You know, "reasoning", it rhymes with "seasoning", except you do it with the seat of your pants.
Wait, you don't use the seat of your pants for seasoning? I tell ya, you haven't lived until you've done that! :D
BTW, I tend to rip and adapt that "rose" thing from time to time myself. I have to admit, that was a good one. (y) (Y)
Well thank you! It's not often that I come up with a good one. Usually, I end up spreading a lot of hard-pore corn! :laughing:
 

Athlonite

Posts: 305   +106
What's your point? Are you suggesting that "asteroids brought all the water here.

But yes, at the time of it's birth, earth was mostly a glob if molten iron and nickel ejecta, from a super nova.

Unlike the mineral-rich crust and mantle, the core is made almost entirely of metal—specifically, iron and nickel. The shorthand used for the core's iron-nickel alloys is simply the elements' chemical symbols—NiFe. Elements that dissolve in iron, called siderophiles, are also found in the core

Thus, if an asteroid struck it, it would have melted down and be absorbed.

What's your point

Oh the earth's core is hot well yes it is hot but that does not equate to the temperature of the outer surface where Asteroids hit
and since the majority of Asteroids are made of water ice only a very small part of it will actually impact on the surface the rest will simply be melted into the atmosphere on entry. Where it will remain as a gas until it condensates and falls to the ground as liquid water thereby cooling the heated surface of our planet even more and so on and so forth until such time as the earth's surface is cool enough for liquid water to remain pooled on the surface