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Even the sample capsule of Haybird 2 has asteroid fragments on the outside



December 5, 2020, Japan Aeronautics and Space Administration (JAXA) Bird 2 The mission returned to the sample module a sample module containing debris from Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) 162173 Ryugu. This is the culmination of the probe’s first six years of launch in space. The probe was launched in December 2014 and rendezvous with Ryugu in June 2018. Although the detector has set its sights on new targets, scientists will be busy analyzing Ryugu samples.

They noticed one thing immediately after opening the case on Monday (December 21)Saint) Is the black dust covering the shell of the capsule. According to JAXA’s statement, black sand is a material taken from the surface of Ryugu.Considering the material in sample chamber A, it seems to pass Bird 2 Much more important than previously thought.

The discovery was made one week after the mission returned to the space capsule and returned to Earth. After entering the atmosphere and forming bright stripes in the sky, it and the samples it contained were recovered in Woomera, Australia on December 6, 2020. On December 8, the capsule was sent to the JAXA Sagamihara campus, where the technicians began the process of carefully taking out the samples.

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This photo released by the Japan Aeronautics and Space Administration (JAXA) shows black sand grains (R) collected from the asteroid Ryugu. Credit: JAXA

December 14day, The agency confirmed in a statement that black sand particles believed to be from asteroids were found in the sample container. They are obviously fixed at the entrance of the sample collector, which is a container for storing samples. JAXA also released a picture of the appearance of the carbon black material (shown above). As they said:

“JAXA has confirmed that the sample originating from the asteroid Ryugu is in the sample container. We were able to confirm the black, sandy particles, which are believed to come from the asteroid Ryugu. We will continue our work to open the sample container. Sample collector. Sample extraction and analysis will be carried out.

A day later, JAXA issued two announcements. The confirmation was announced for the first time that the samples obtained were indeed from the asteroid Dragon Gu. The second statement shared the results of the analysis of the gas also present in the sample container A.After mass spectrometry testing at the Quick Look Facility (QLF) established on December 7dayIn 2020, at Woomera’s local headquarters-JAXA has confirmed that the gas originated from an asteroid.

To confirm the initial results, on December 10, a similar analysis was conducted at the Extraterrestrial Sample Management Center (ESCuC) of the JAXA Sagamihara campus.day And 11day. These tests produced the same results, showing that the gases were indeed the result of a material obtained as part of the Ryugu sample, which sublimated during its return to Earth.

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The structure of the sample container. Credit: JAXA

This is the first time that the sample return head contains material from deep inside a deep space object, not to mention material from said object in a gaseous state. JAXA also pointed out in the second statement that the analysis team will continue to inspect gaseous samples and “make detailed analysis of the molecular and isotopic composition of the collected gas.”

They said that at the same time, JAXA will “continue to open sample chambers B and C in the sample container, and the samples will be taken out and analyzed by the curatorial team and the initial analysis team.” These samples include surface dust and original materials from below the surface. , These materials are kicked up by the impactor (essentially an anti-tank warhead) launched by the probe.

When Hayabusa 2 orbited Ryugu, it also deployed four small rover vehicles, including MASCOT and Minerva-II, to the surface of the asteroid to investigate and analyze the geological background of the collected samples. Due to minimal gravity and extremely uneven surfaces, these rover vehicles are designed to be able to jump at will instead of relying on feet, wheels or tread.

These samples are the first time we carried out the sample return task. The task has been carried out for six years and is the follow-up product of this product. ab bird Mission-Rendezvous with the asteroid Itokawa in September 2005 and return a sample to Earth in June 2010. Then and now, the purpose of these missions was to study the matter left over after the formation of the solar system (asteroids are essentially).

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Internal sample room A. Credit: JAXA

In addition to revealing things about the earliest period of the solar system, the surface and interior of these asteroids also record their subsequent evolution over the past 4.5 billion years. To get samples from Dragon Palace, Bird 2 When NEA Ryugu goes beyond Earth’s orbit, it must travel about 300 kilometers (200 million miles) from Earth to rendezvous with NEA Ryugu.

Once all samples of Hayabusa 2 are deleted and analyzed, half of them will be shared among JAXA, NASA and other international organizations. The rest will be reserved for future research, as technological advancements allow more detailed analysis and research. At the same time, Hayabusa 2 is now meeting the next target as part of its mission expansion.

This extension was approved in September 2020 and includes tholin-rich (red) asteroid 2001 CC21 and water-rich NEA 1998 KY26, Believed to be composed of material from multiple asteroids that have collided in the past. The probe will pass these asteroids in July 2026 and July 2031, respectively.

In addition to revealing things about the history of the solar system, these icy asteroids can also tell us how water was distributed between planets billions of years ago (thus making life possible)!

Further reading: Phys.org, Jacks


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