Curiosity is one of the most important attributes for a scientist. Our Professor Eizo Nakamura is a very curious person. On seeing the video from the Hayabusa 2 touchdown, Eizo made a simple observation and together with Dr. Potiszil and others, developed a new model for concentration of organic matter in a solar system body. This model has been published in Potiszil et al. 2020.
The importance of these results has catched the attention of the local media. First the local bulletin of Okayama University produced a summary of the manuscript. This summary highlighted the fact that prior to our manuscript the scientific community thought the asteroid "Ryugu" did not contain a large amount of organic matter. However, this novel study, which utilised the principles of Albedo, indicated that Ryugu can contain up to 60% organic matter. Moreover, the manuscript outlines another important idea; how such an organic-matter-rich body can form. The hypotesis article suggests that an ice-rich parent body, such as a comet, captured rocky debris from a collision. More complex organic matter may have then been formed through interactions of the sillicates, simple organics and water from the ice. The debris was then concentrated towards the centre of the body through vibrations and the ice sublimed away as a result of the body passing close to the sun. Accordingly, the organic matter was concentrated at the surface of and within cracks on Ryugu.
Another important media organisation, Yahoo news, also released an article reporting on our recent publication. The major conclusions of this news article are that Ryugu was originally a comet, which through sublimation lost its ice. The result was that the organic matter contained within was concentrated at the surface of Ryugu. Based on the observation made by Professor Eizo Nakamura, from the Institute of Plantery Materials (Okayama University), it was possible to discriminate the difference in colour betwen particles on the surface of Ruygu. After making calculations concerning the albedo properties of Ryugu and analogue materials for minerals and organic matter, Dr. Potizil facilitated by Eizo Nakamura and other PML researchers was able to suggest that Ryugu may contain up to 60% organic matter. The hyphotheses outlined in the manuscript will be tested when Hayabusa 2 samples return to the Earth at the end of the year.
Source: Yahoo news press release