Asteroid Ryugu samples, now on Earth, reveal inner workings of the space rock

Pieces of rock from the asteroid Ryugu splashed down on Earth in 2020. Now, scientists studying the samples are revealing the asteroid’s true nature. 

Ryugu is a near-Earth asteroid that Japan visited with its Hayabusa2 spacecraft. The craft launched in 2014, arrived at the space rock in 2018 and in December 2020 dropped off a capsule carrying 0.2 ounces (5.4 grams) of asteroid material to Earth. This has given scientists the ability to study the asteroid up close here on our home planet with a full range of technologies.