Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft has been hanging around the asteroid known as Ryugu for several months now. It arrived only in late 2018 and in February a projectile fired on its surface to collect a sample from the rock. It still has lots of work to do, but things move together nicely.
Now, having learned more about the asteroid itself, the Japanese scientists believe that they know where the object has arisen, narrowing its possible asteroids "parents" to a few larger rocks. Concluding to determine Ryugu's origin will not be easy, but the asteroid's color has helped scientists narrow things down a little.
In a new research public published in Science, an international research group describes a variety of properties, such as the & # 39; I have been able to observe thanks to pictures from Hayabusa2.
They have been able to state that Ryugu's overall body had at least some water ice on the surface and possibly also "organic molecules".
Ryugu is incredibly dark of any standard and is believed to be one of the darkest items in our entire solar system. It may be hard to believe when you see pictures shot by Hayabusa2, but it's important to remember that the tools probe is equipped specifically to capture the details of the rock's dark surface.
As Science News, rock's color also reports helped scientists to track its potential parents to only two other known asteroids.
The first is a 55-kilometer-wide asteroid known as Polana, and the other is a smaller 37-kilometer-wide rock known as Eulalia. Both are much larger than the 900 meter wide Ryugu, and all are similar in functionality.
Finally, Hayabusa2 will return to Earth but only after collecting additional samples from Ryugu.
These tests will tell the researchers a lot about the rock's past and will probably help them nail down their parent.