Before most people wake up this Sunday morning, a small space capsule will be dropped off to Earth, landing in Woomera, South Australia. The capsule contains fragments of the surface of a near-Earth-orbit asteroid, Ryugu, collected by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with the Hayabusa2 spacecraft last year.
The fragments of rock and dust will tell us a lot about how asteroids form, where they have been, what they are made of, and how long Ryugu has been orbiting in close proximity to Earth.
A full retinue of the best analytical techniques available in the world, including our own cosmo-chemical laboratories at the ANU Research School of Management, will be brought to bear on the samples.
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