TOKYO – Samples from the asteroid Ryugu brought back to Earth by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa2 were on display to the public on December 4 for the first time in a museum in Tokyo.
Two black particles, each measuring around 2 millimeters, are now on display at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, or Miraikan, in the Koto district of the capital. Masaki Fujimoto, deputy director of the Institute for Space and Astronautical Sciences at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), told reporters at a media briefing on December 3: “They look like to ordinary pebbles, but are actually filled with information related to the origin of water and life on Earth. I want visitors to view them with that in mind. ”
The Hayabusa2 space probe returned to Earth in December 2020 with a capsule containing 5.4 grams of rock and sand samples from asteroid Ryugu. Inside the capsule were samples that the probe collected during the landing on the asteroid in February and July 2019. It is believed that Hayabusa2 may have collected samples from the surface of Ryugu during the first landing, and during the second time, he took samples of the material underground when the probe created an artificial crater with a collider.
Ryugu primarily orbits between Earth and Mars and is classified as an asteroid with carbon and water. Scientists believe it is very likely that the asteroid is carrying materials that are the source of life and water from Earth, and are analyzing the samples brought back from the asteroid.
The exposed particles come from samples collected during the first landing and the second landing respectively. The capsule in which the rock samples from Ryugu returned is also on display at the exhibit, which runs until December 13. For more information, contact Miraikan at 03-3570-9151 (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Etsuko Nagayama, Department of Medical and Lifestyle News)