The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 has been hanging around the asteroid known as Ryugu for several months. For the first time, he arrived at the end of 2018 and in February he shot a projectile on his surface to collect a sample of the rock. There is still a lot of work to do but things are doing well.
Now that they have learned more about the asteroid itself, Japanese scientists believe they know where the object originated, limiting the possible "asteroids" of the asteroids to a pair of larger rocks. Convincing determination of the origin of Ryugu will not be easy, but the color of the asteroid has helped the researchers to cut quite a bit.
In a new article published in Science an international team of scientists describes different characteristics that they were able to observe thanks to the images of Hayabusa2. They are able to determine if Ryugu's parent body had at least some water ice on its surface and perhaps "organic molecules" too.
Ryugu is incredibly dark of any standard and is believed to be one of the darkest objects in our entire solar system. It can be hard to believe when seeing photos taken by Hayabusa2, but it is important to remember that the tools with which the probe is equipped have been specifically designed to capture the details of the dark surface of the rock. [1
Eventually, Hayabusa2 will return to Earth, but only after collecting additional samples from Ryugu. These patterns will tell the researchers a lot about the past of the rock and will probably help them get stuck.