Hayabusa-2 has found that the asteroid Ryugu is covered with many scattered large boulders.
The Hayabusa 2 space probe discovered many boulders scattered on the asteroid Ryugu, suggesting it was formed from fragments of other celestial bodies, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said July 19. More than 100 rocks larger than 8 meters in length were confirmed on the surface of the “spinning top” asteroid from images captured by Hayabusa 2, according to JAXA. The largest boulder was about 130 meters in length near the south pole.
The rocks are likely too big to be meteor fragments from collisions with Ryugu, which has a diameter of about 900 meters. “(The finding) is compelling evidence to prove that the Ryugu asteroid was formed by fragments of larger celestial bodies,” said Seiichiro Watanabe, head of the study team and professor of Nagoya University.
The asteroid’s slightly tilted axis of rotation gives Ryugu two seasons: summer and winter. Hayabusa 2 found the temperature ranged from about 20 to 100 degrees on Ryugu’s surface.
Surprise! This finding makes Ryugu very different from every other asteroid previously visited. Most have had relatively smooth surfaces, with lots of dust.