Earlier this month, samples taken in Ryugu by the Japanese ship Hayabusa2 arrived safely on Earth. After opening the deposit with material collected from the asteroid, astronomers were faced with several surprises. The most recent one shows an artificial object found in the middle of the collected material. For now, it has not been possible to identify him.

Between the black powder and the rocks contained in the capsule that returned to Earth, there is a shiny object. Was this material part of the ship, or is it something “extraterrestrial”?

Image of material extracted from the asteroid Ryugu

Could it be an extraterrestrial object, or is it really earthly?

Almost a month after the Japanese space agency JAXA retrieved the samples from the Hayabusa2 mission, the surprises are not over yet. As it was reported, among the debris collected from the asteroid Ryugu, an artificial object was found.

The quickest answer that can be given is that this shiny object will be part of the ship’s fuselage. However, they still do not know if this is in fact the case. This explanation was given by JAXA through its Twitter account, where they detailed that the discovery took place last December 21, when the recovered container with the remnants of the remote asteroid was opened, and that it could provide important clues about the origins of the System Solar.

The team analyzes in detail what was collected. As the Japanese space agency explained, everything will have to be detailed and cataloged:

The work on preserving Ryugu’s samples is progressing steadily. On December 21, sample chambers B and C were opened and then the contents of chambers A and C were transferred to the collection containers shown in the photo. The largest particles in chamber C are about 1 cm long.

The image shows a shiny metallic-looking object, a body that has not yet been identified.

Image of artificial material coming from the asteroid

Click to enlarge the image

Asteroid Ryugu may have sent “the garbage home”

At the official site from JAXA it is explained that the artificial material appears to be present in chamber C. Its origin is under investigation, but a probable source of this material could be the structure of the ship itself. That is, it appears to be scraped aluminum from the sampling part. It may have been blown off when the projectile was fired to remove material during the asteroid landing.

Therefore, it is very likely that the spacecraft, during some of the shots fired at the rock’s surface, suffered from the ricochet of a projectile that “bombed” Ruygu. Later, this material was trapped inside the capsule with the rest of the samples.

A mission to reveal the origins of the Solar System

The Hayabusa2 mission aimed to take samples of Ryugu, an unusual asteroid that scientists suggested was formed out of a cataclysm. According to a previous study published in “Science”, this rock is part of the Chondrites Carbonaceus, a primitive type of asteroid characterized by its dark color.

After opening the capsule, Japanese researchers found that there was more material than expected. In fact, it was really a surprise to have “big” rocks.

The container also contained gas collected at the time of extraction, which will also be studied to find out if it is the asteroid itself that emanates from them. Meanwhile, Hayabusa2 has already resumed its journey to 2001 CC 21, a very small and rapidly rotating asteroid type, and then it will approach another object called 1998 KY 26.

Thus, if everything goes as planned, the ship will reach its first destination in 2026 and the second in 2031.

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