Astronomy and Astrophysics
Aims: To understand the apparent discrepancy between MASCOT observations and Ryugu samples, we assess whether the MASCOT landing site, and the rock by implication, is perhaps atypical for Ryugu.
Methods: We analyzed observations of the MASCOT landing area acquired by three instruments on board Hayabusa2: a camera (ONC), a near-infrared spectrometer (NIRS3), and a thermal infrared imager. We compared the landing area properties thus retrieved with those of the average Ryugu surface.
Results: We selected several areas and landforms in the landing area for analysis: a small crater, a collection of smooth rocks, and the landing site itself. The crater is relatively blue and the rocks are relatively red. The spectral and thermophysical properties of the landing site are very close to those of the average Ryugu surface. The spectral properties of the MASCOT rock are probably close to average, but its thermal inertia may be somewhat higher.
Conclusions: The MASCOT rock can also be considered representative of Ryugu. Some of the submillimeter-sized particles in the returned samples stand out because of their atypical spectral properties. Such particles may be present as inclusions in the MASCOT rock.
This project studies the physical and compositional properties of the so-called minor bodies of the Solar System, that includes asteroids, icy objects, and comets. Of special interest are the trans-neptunian objects (TNOs), including those considered the most distant objects detected so far (Extreme-TNOs or ETNOs); the comets and the comet-asteroid