Take a piece of coal the size of a sugar cube and smash it with a strong hammer blow.
The powder you then obtain is a mixture of grains of varying sizes, ranging from a few millimeters for the largest, to a few microns for the smallest.
This is what the 5.4 grams of rock dust taken from the asteroid Ryugu by the Japanese probe Hayabusa-2 and brought back to Earth at the end of 2020 look like roughly.
Since then, Japanese scientists have taken extreme care of this priceless treasure.
It is only the fourth body in the Solar System whose samples have been brought back to Earth.
And if we put aside the hundreds of kilos of lunar rocks, before that it was only a few rare microscopic dust coming respectively from the tail of comet 81P/Wild (Stardust mission, in 2006) and from the Itokawa asteroid (first Hayabusa mission, in 2010).
Elements essential to life found on an asteroid
Each Ryugu bean was first characterized (size…
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