The Hayabusa 2 mission of the Japanese Space Research Agency aims to answer some basic questions about the origin of the solar system and the origin of particles such as water..
The spacecraft was launched from the Japanese Tanegashima Space Center in 2014 and it took four years to reach the Ryugu asteroid before taking a sample and returning to Earth in November 2019..
Hayabus 2’s return is the world’s first asteroid surface samples, weeks after NASA’s Oasis-Rex probe captured samples from the Bennu asteroid surface..
Meanwhile, China announced this week that its lunar lander has collected subsurface samples and sealed them inside a spacecraft to return to Earth as developing countries compete in space with their missions.
Australian National University space rock expert Trevor Ireland said while waiting for Woomer to land the capsule, he expected Ryugu asteroid samples to be similar to a meteorite that fell in Australia near Murchison, Victoria more than 50 years ago..
“The Murchison meteorite opened a window to the origin of organic matter on Earth because these rocks were discovered to contain simple amino acids in addition to a lot of water,” said Maryland.“.
“We will investigate whether the asteroid Ryugu is a possible source of organic matter and water on Earth during the formation of the Solar System, and whether these materials are still intact on the asteroid’s surface,” he said.“.
The researchers say they believe the samples, especially those taken from beneath the asteroid’s surface, contain valuable data that is unaffected by cosmic rays and other environmental factors. Scientists are particularly interested in analyzing organic matter in samples.