RSAA Colloquia / Seminars / Feast-of-Facts: Thursday, 07 March 2019, 11:00-12:00; CSO Common Room

Trevor Ireland

"Sampling Spinning-top asteroids"

Two sample return missions are currently at their target asteroids. The JAXA Hayabusa2 mission is at asteroid Ryugu while NASA Osiris-REx is at asteroid Bennu. These are C-type asteroids with a spectrum that is flat and of low albedo. They are the first of a new type of object now termed “spinning top” asteroids because of their diamond shaped profile. The asteroids have rubbly surfaces with numerous boulders and craters. Hayabusa2 has just completed a successful sampling touchdown while Osiris-REx is scheduled to take a sample in December. These sample return missions are important because they take samples of the very surface of the asteroids. As such they give a different view of the parent bodies compared to meteorites which are ablated on their entry through Earth’s atmosphere.