The Hyabusa2 spacecraft found itself landing on the surface of the asteroid named Ryugu to drop off the MASCOT. The lander had an abrupt landing from its 135 feet descent. It fell 55 feet into a whole where it lay upside. That was in 2018. However, its story did not end there after it found images from the asteroids that were very promising.
After a year long voyage, the MASCOT finally has something to show for it. Ral Jaumanm says,” What we have from these images is really knowing how rocks and material is distributed on the surface of this asteroid, what the weathering history of this asteroid is, and the geological context,” after reviewing the images taken by the lander. “It’s the first information on this kind of material in its original environment.”
The images showed a lot of rocks basically. Some cauliflower-looking rocks and others that were bright and smooth, however all in a general vicinity of each other. What the MASCOT didn’t find was dust, a natural biproduct of the weathering process.
“This is the first time ever that we’ve seen a boulder of something that ends up passing through the atmosphere. something we have in museums and laboratories all around the world,” says Kerri Donaldson Hanna, the planetary geologist and assistant proefessor at UCF. According to her these findings may usher researchers to discover the link between those in space and those on Earth.
But the mystery of these asteroid rock environments is the type of carbonaceous chondrites of Ryugu would become with further comparisons of the ones already on Earth. More data will need to be seen to know for sure. There is still a chance that the rocks of Ryugu be a completely different type of carbonaceous chondrite.