When the Hayabusa2 mission returns to Earth at the end of 2020, it will bring with it a sample from a carbonaceous asteroid. This class of asteroid is thought to have pelted the early Earth, delivering water and possibly the first organic molecules with which to begin life. But what happened after that?
Three research papers have been published this month in the International Journal, Science, detailing the first results from the ISAS・ JAXA Hayabusa2 mission to asteroid Ryugu.
After 1302 days in space, Hayabusa2 arrived at asteroid Ryugu on June 27, 2018. The mission is destined to return to Earth at the end of 2020, bringing samples from the asteroid surface. But upon arrival, Hayabusa2 promptly began a detailed examination of the asteroid using the onboard remote sensing instruments.
Akatsuki may have discovered why Venus’s atmosphere rotates so fast. The reason may play a vital role in the habitability of Earth-sized exoplanets.
As a planet nearly the same size and mass as the Earth, Venus is an essential study for understanding the range of possible conditions on rocky planets. A defining feature of our neighbouring world is a thick atmosphere whose reflective properties enticed ancient astronomers to name the planet after the mythological goddess of beauty, but whose ability to trap heat renders the surface temperature capable of melting lead.