Latest images of the Ryugu asteroid, orbiting around the Sun some 300 million kilometres from Earth, have surprised and enthralled Japanese space scientists. the Japanese space agency has been probing asteroid Ryugu. In October last year, Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft dropped a lander on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu from 135 feet up.
The lander of the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft managed to capture breathtaking pictures of the surface of asteroid Ryugu. According to the team of European and Japanese scientists who analysed photos that Hayabusa-2's robotic lander, MASCOT, took from the asteroid's surface back in October 2018, rocks on the surface of Ryugu bear a striking resemblance to rocks from meteorites that have crashed down on the Earth.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa-2 mission has delivered detailed images from the surface of Ryugu by the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT). The pictures of the asteroid could be a major clue in understanding the solar system’s past, according to Daily Express.
Some of the rocks on Ryugu are made up of carbonaceous chondrite, which is believed to be some of the oldest material in the solar system, dating back 4.5 billion years, and something which is rarely found on Earth.
German Aerospace Center’s Rolf Jaumann said: “What we have from these pictures is actually understanding how the material and rocks are dispersed on this asteroid’s surface, what is the weathering history of this material, and the geologic context.
“It is the foremost data on this sort of stuff in its original environment.”
Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets. Asteroids, if hit Earth, can bring massive destruction to our planet and also to human life. The effects of an asteroid strike—tsunamis, shock waves, and flattening winds, could be catastrophic. Asteroids can approach towards the Earth due to the gravitational forces that affect them.