Frontiers Seminar - Samples from the asteroid Ryugu

29 March 2023

Please join us for a frontiers seminar.  An unusual sample to come to UQ, one from far away.

Date/Time: Wednesday 5th April 2023, 15:00 - 16:00 (AEST)
Title: Sample return mission from small bodies: Why JAXA cares and why you should care
Presenter: Professor Masaki Fujimoto – ISAS/JAXA Japan
Venue: AIBN Building 75, Level 1 Seminar Room


On December 6, 2020, Hayabusa2 sample return capsule landed safely in Woomera, Australia. The capsule was quickly transported to the JAXA curation facility to avoid terrestrial contamination. Careful opening of the sample container at the facility resulted in a pleasant surprise of confirming the amount of the samples, which had been sampled from the surface of a primordial asteroid by the name Ryugu, to be 50 times the minimum requirement. It is not only the quantity but also the quality, namely, the very eloquent nature of the samples regarding the very first age of the solar system, that would let us categorize Hayabusa2 as a big success. The big success is followed MMX, JAXA’s Martian Moons exploration, to be launched in 2024 and to return samples back from Phobos, one of the Martian moons, in 2029, with its capsule landing again in Woomera. MMX is not only a follow-up to Hayabusa2 in the line of small body sample return missions but also the first step in JAXA’s Mars exploration program. Given high expectation of MMX, and how nicely JAXA has been supported by Australians, we think MMX should trigger deeper collaborations between Australian and Japanese science communities.