The initial analysis of samples brought back from Ryugu by the Hayabusa2 project will be presented in 2022 at several conferences. Rigaku's ZXS Primus IV X-ray fluorescence spectrometer determined the content of 20 elements in the Ryugu samples, and a simultaneous differential thermal balance-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry system revealed differences between the carbonaceous chondrite meteorite and the Ryugu samples. Rigaku has provided data that will serve as a benchmark for various analyses to be conducted by research groups around the world in the future.
The C-type asteroid Ryugu, which exists in the asteroid belt closest to Earth, is thought to still contain water and organic matter from the formation of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago. Where did the Earth's water come from, and where was the organic matter that makes up life formed? And how did the first micro-planets that are thought to have formed repeatedly collide, destroy, and merge with each other to create planets? The Hayabusa2 mission aims to understand these questions.
The results, including Rigaku's analysis, were published in in the prestigious journal Science on June 10, 2022, and will be used as a benchmark for various analyses of the Ryugu sample to be conducted by research groups around the world in the future. The paper, titled “Samples returned from the asteroid Ryugu are similar to Iuna-type carbonaceous meteorites,” can be accessed at https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abn7850. The results will also be presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference 2022 in Houston in March, the Japan Geoscience Union 2022 Conference in May, and the Goldschschmidt Conference in Hawaii in July.