The Dark Asteroid Ryugu Finally Comes Into the Light

Using cameras aboard the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, Japanese scientists get a rare, close-up glimpse of a space rock’s structure.

In 2018, the Japanese space agency’s Hayabusa2 probe visited the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, which occasionally traverses our world’s orbit (but has yet to come dangerously close). It extracted a tiny fragment of that hurtling space rock and in December became the first spacecraft to deliver a piece of an asteroid to Earth, ahead of a NASA mission that will return a sample from a different asteroid in 2023.

While the initial analysis from that precious sample likely won’t be available until early next year, scientists are now releasing findings from Hayabusa2’s onboard cameras

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