A copper ball reveals Ryojo’s secrets


Space probe “Hayabusa2” examines asteroid “Ryogo”

A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in Japan revealed the age of the asteroid “Ryojo” by launching a copper ball on its surface. These details were announced in a study published by the journal “Science” on March 19.

The Japanese space agency “JAXA” launched the space probe “Hayabusa2” in 2014, and its mission was to travel to the asteroid “Ryogo” and learn more about it. Two years ago, the probe reached the asteroid and began its mission to scan, and one of its tasks included launching a copper ball weighing 2 kg. On the asteroid at a speed of 7200 km / h.

The goal was to learn more about how to form craters, and information about the asteroid’s structure, and a tennis-sized piece was tossed onto a hole on the surface of the asteroid 14.5 meters wide and 2.3 meters deep, and this generated a short debris cloud.

The researchers were able to learn more about the composition of the asteroid, by analyzing the materials in the debris cloud, and at the bottom and sides of the craters.

According to a report published by the Science X Network on March 20, researchers have found sand-like material beneath the rocky surface, adding credibility to the theories that indicate “Ryugu” is a type of “asteroid of rubble”, which consists of the remaining material from Destruction of a larger object due to collision with another object.

The researchers also noted that the crater was not round, but instead was shaped like a crescent, indicating that one of its edges abuts a very large rock underground that was solid enough to avoid being broken by a copper ball.

The discovery of a sand-like substance also indicates that the asteroid is likely much smaller than some had anticipated before the Hayabusa2 space probe mission.

Researchers now believe that he is approximately 9 million years old, and the team also observed that the formation of the hole was limited by gravity, not surface strength, which once again indicates that the asteroid is made of fragile and porous material.

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