For an asteroid, Ryugu has surprisingly little dust on its surface.

The space rock may hide the fine debris inside larger rocks or eject it into space

Ryugu
Germany’s MASCOT probe took this photo just before landing on the asteroid Ryugu. The craft found a landscape of crumbly and jagged rocks, but not much actual dust.
R. JAUMANN ET AL/SCIENCE 2019

By Lisa Grossman

Ryugu is a neat freak. The surface of the small, near-Earth asteroid is surprisingly free of dust, observations from Germany’s MASCOT lander show.

The asteroid, thought to have formed from the breakup of a larger body around 700 million years ago, has no atmosphere to protect it from interplanetary dust streaming through the solar system (SN: 4/27/19, p. 4). These miniature missiles pummel exposed space rocks at high speed, breaking down their surfaces into thin layers of dust and dirt, such as those found on the moon and the asteroid Vesta.

But when MASCOT bounced across Ryugu in October 2018 (SN Online: 9/24/18), the lander took high-resolution photos that show no sign of any dust-sized particles, down to a resolution of about 100 micrometers, about the thickness of a sheet of paper, researchers report in the Aug. 23 Science.

“After a few tens of millions of years, you should have dust on the surface,” says planetary scientist Ralf Jaumann of the German Aerospace Center in Berlin. “If it’s not there, you should have some kind of physical, geological processes which clean up these bodies.”

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One thought on “For an asteroid, Ryugu has surprisingly little dust on its surface.

  1. I find the discrepancies between creation and evolution most interesting. A millennium is just a snapshot in time.

    A thought: as time = distance = time and as God, who is Spirit, fills the heavens and the earth, He won’t experience time like we do. As there is no distance in His realities.

    Liked by 1 person

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