A newly revised estimation of bulk densities and examination of the shape of individual Ryugu grainsOPEN ACCESS 

Toru Yada, Kasumi Yogata, Kentaro Hatakeda, Aiko Nakato, Masahiro Nishimura, Kana Nagashima, Kazuya Kumagai, Yuya Hitomi, Hiromichi Soejima, Rui Tahara, Rei Kanemaru, Arisa Nakano, Miwa Yoshitake, Ayako Iwamae, Shizuho Furuya, Akira Tsuchiyama, Shogo Tachibana, Tatsuhiro Michikami, Tatsuaki Okada, Masanao Abe & Tomohiro Usui

Earth, Planets and Space
Volume 75, Article number: 171
Published: 15 November 2023


“The bulk density of grains from a celestial body is a fundamental property related to its composition and structure, contributing to the understanding of its evolutionary history. In this study, we provide the bulk density of 637 grains returned from the C-type near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu. This is the largest number of grains to date for the curation activity, corresponding to 38 wt.% of the total returned samples (approximately 5.4 g). Although several densities of the Ryugu grains were reported, the volume estimation of some samples showed uncertainties. Therefore, we applied a new volume estimation model calibrated by X-ray micro-computed tomography (XCT) to the Ryugu grains to more accurately estimate their bulk density. The obtained average bulk density of 637 Ryugu grains was 1.79 ± 0.31 g/cm3 (1σ variation) for weights of 0.5‒100 mg (sub-mm ‒to 10 mm) irrespective of their 3D shapes characterized by three axial length ratios, considered to be a representative of the returned samples. The bulk density distributions of the grains in Chambers A and C were statistically distinguishable, with mean values of 1.81 ± 0.30 and 1.76 ± 0.33 g/cm3 (1σ variations), respectively. Despite the small difference, bulk density may have differed by sampling site. The obtained average bulk density value of A + C samples was almost the same as that of 16 Ryugu grains estimated based on CT scanned data, and was consistent with the densities of CI chondrites (1.57–1.91 g/cm3). The axial ratios of the grains in Chambers A and C were similar and those of the 724 returned samples and the flying particles ejected during the sampling operations were also similar, suggesting that relatively small Ryugu materials (mm‒cm in size) are similar in shape. The minor difference between the Rygu grains and flying particles could be attributed to events such as scraping during sampling operations and transportation.”