Images from the surface of asteroid Ryugu show rocks similar to carbonaceous chondrite meteorites

1,2R.Jaumann et al. (>10)
Science 365, 817-820 Link to Article [DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw8627]
1German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, Germany.
2Free University of Berlin, Institute of Geosciences, Berlin, Germany.
Reprinted with permission from AAAS

The near-Earth asteroid (162173) Ryugu is a 900-m-diameter dark object expected to contain primordial material from the solar nebula. The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) landed on Ryugu’s surface on 3 October 2018. We present images from the MASCOT camera (MASCam) taken during the descent and while on the surface. The surface is covered by decimeter- to meter-sized rocks, with no deposits of fine-grained material. Rocks appear either bright, with smooth faces and sharp edges, or dark, with a cauliflower-like, crumbly surface. Close-up images of a rock of the latter type reveal a dark matrix with small, bright, spectrally different inclusions, implying that it did not experience extensive aqueous alteration. The inclusions appear similar to those in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites.


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