The Fragments Of The Asteroid Ryugu Are A Real Look At The Origin Of The Solar System

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After the re-entry of the samples of the Ryugu asteroid, extracted in 2019 thanks to the Hayabusa-2 probe developed by the Japanese Space Agency, the scientists immediately started the investigation to find out more details about the mysterious materials: well, they are

Let us briefly recall the importance of the asteroid 162173 Ryugu: it measures about 900 meters of diameter, orbits the sun between Earth and Mars and, according to experts, it had to contain material from the nebula from which the Solar System originated In other words, it would be a real look at the origin of the Sun, Earth and planets of our system. The samples recovered weigh in total 5.4 grams and the dimensions range from the millimeter to the eight millimeters: the easiest way to describe them is to imagine really dark pieces of black pepper, in some cases more like fine powder.

Although experts are only at the beginning of the investigations, the current results have already confirmed that these samples are among the most primordial materials available in laboratories. The rock extracted from Ryugu will be analysed in a sealed environment rich in purified nitrogen, without exposing it to the Earth’s atmosphere. With an optical microscope and various instruments necessary for measuring the absorption and emission of visible and infrared wavelengths, researchers have discovered that the fragments reflect only about 2% to 3% of light and that the rock would appear to be highly porous.

The hyperspectral microscope analysis of sample composition suggests, then, that rock particles are composed of clay and carbon-based compounds. At present, the process of material formation and evolution, defined as one of the darkest ever examined, is completely unknown. Discovering every detail will be essential, as Ryugu represents an important step to unveil the secrets of the Solar System.

Remaining in space, at the edge of the Milky Way, ‘fossil’ have been found, useful for the reconstruction of the history of the galaxy.

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