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Volume 579 Issue 7800, 26 March 2020

Glowing report

The cover shows a thermal image of the carbonaceous (C-type) asteroid 162173 Ryugu. C-type asteroids formed some 4.6 billion years ago and are made up of primitive materials that could shed light on the origin of the Solar System. But even though they are the most common type of asteroid, little is known about their physical properties. In this week’s issue, Tatsuaki Okada and his colleagues describe their analysis of the thermal data captured by the thermal imager TIR on the spacecraft Hayabusa2 when it encountered Ryugu. The results reveal that the asteroid is probably a collection of small, remarkably porous rocks held loosely together. The authors suggest Ryugu may represent a missing link between the fluffy dust that pervades much of space and dense celestial objects such as planets.

Cover image: JAXA et al.

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    • Scott St. George
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Research

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Amendments & Corrections

Nature Outlook

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