Japan’s Osprey 2 spacecraft is returning to Earth after reconnecting with the asteroid Ryugu, 180 million miles away, but the work surrounding the rocky planet’s orbit reveals more secrets,media reported. The latest finding: its surface is red and blue — and now researchers finally know why.
A new study published Thursday in the journal Science reveals some of the asteroid’s secrets. We know that one of the goals of Osprey 2 is to collect rock samples on the surface of the Dragon Palace, but to do so it requires a good understanding of the land.
For months, osprey 2 investigated the surface of the Dragon Palace through an on-board camera, a series of work that provided it with a wealth of data to track the asteroid, and eventually landed on the surface of the Dragon Palace.
It is reported that these images taken by the Onc-T telescope optical navigation camera of the Osprey 2 telescope allow edgtosic characteristics of the asteroid’s surface. There are two colors on the surface of the Dragon Palace that stand out – red and blue. It is known that the asteroid’s mid-latitudes are mostly red, with the equator and poles being blue. The impact crater is also blue. It remains a mystery why this pattern occurs.
Fortunately, the first capture of Osprey 2 gave researchers a clearer view of surface matter and led the team to believe that the red matter on it was caused by a small trip by the Dragon Palace near the sun.
When the spacecraft lands in February 2019, debris from the Dragon Palace will be stirred and sprayed on the entire surface of the asteroid. Longvalley Star’s landing site is located in a region with more material on a blue surface, but when it briefly lands and takes off again, a dark red fine particle is scattered on the surface of the Dragon Palace.
These clues suggest that about 300,000 years ago, the Dragon Palace moved around the sun. At that time, the “Dragon Palace” was closer to the sun, and high temperatures could cause the material on its surface to turn red. Over time, the forces acting on the asteroid’s surface mix the red and blue matter on its surface. When Osprey 2 stole a surface sample, it stirred up many dark red particles that had already settled.
The good news for the JAXA team is that they may have captured both red and blue material in surface sampling and could study them on Earth.
Currently, the Osprey 2 is currently on its way back and is expected to land in the Australian outback in December. It is unclear what the fate of the Osprey 2 will be after the mission is completed, but JAXA scientists say it could extend its mission by flying over another asteroid, 2001 WR1.