Small grains from Ryugu: handling and analysis pipeline for infrared synchrotron microspectroscopyOPEN ACCESS 

Stefano Rubino, Zélia Dionnet, Alice Aléon-Toppani, Rosario Brunetto, Tomoki Nakamura, Donia Baklouti, Zahia Djouadi, Cateline Lantz, Obadias Mivumbi, Ferenc Borondics, Stephane Lefrançois, Christophe Sandt, Francesco Capitani, Eva Héripré, David Troadec, Megumi Matsumoto, Kana Amano, Tomoyo Morita, Hisayoshi Yurimoto, Takaaki Noguchi, Ryuji Okazaki, Hikaru Yabuta, Hiroshi Naraoka, Kanako Sakamoto, Shogo Tachibana, Seiichiro Watanabe, Yuichi Tsuda & the Hayabusa2-initial-analysis team

Earth, Planets and Space, Volume 75, Article number: 4
Published: 09 January 2023


“Sample-return missions allow the study of materials collected directly from celestial bodies, unbiased by atmospheric entry effects and/or terrestrial alteration and contamination phenomena, using state-of-the-art techniques which are available only in a laboratory environment—but only if the collected material stays pristine. The scarcity of outer-space unaltered material recovered until now makes this material extremely precious for the potential scientific insight it can bring. To maximize the scientific output of current and future sample-return missions, the scientific community needs to plan for ways of storing, handling, and measuring this precious material while preserving their pristine state for as long as the ‘invasiveness’ of measurements allows. In July 2021, as part of the Hayabusa2 (JAXA) “Stone” preliminary examination team, we received several microscopic particles from the asteroid Ryugu, with the goal of performing IR hyper-spectral imaging and IR micro-tomography studies. Here, we describe the sample transfer, handling methods and analytical pipeline we implemented to study this very precious material while minimizing and surveilling their alteration history on Earth.”