JAXA shows the sub-surface samples it collected from asteroid Ryugu
Shortly after Japan's Hayabusa2 probe returned to Earth, JAXA showed some of the samples it had collected from the asteroid Ryugu. These stones came from the A-chamber of the probe's sample capsule, meaning they were collected when the mission first touched down in February 2019. Now JAXA has released photos showing the contents of the C chamber of the capsule it was opened on December 21st.
JAXA's tweet said that the agency had opened both chambers "B" and "C". The "B" chamber is empty as it was not used for collecting, but the "C" chamber was used to collect samples during the second Hayabusa2 touchdown in July 2019. JAXA fired an explosive into the asteroid prior to the second touchdown to create a crater and be able to collect samples from deeper underground. Scientists hope that the underground samples can provide more clues about the formation and early period of the solar system because they were not exposed to the harsh environment of space.
According to JAXA, the largest particles in chamber “C” were about one centimeter in size. If you look at the photos, the agency has marked one of the particles as “人工 物” or “artificial object”. Where this object came from has yet to be confirmed, but JAXA believes it could be "aluminum separated from the sampling horn" if it used an explosive on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu.
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