The Chemical Composition of Ryugu: Prospects as a Reference Material for Solar System CompositionOPEN ACCESS 

Tetsuya Yokoyama, Nicolas Dauphas, Ryota Fukai, Tomohiro Usui, Shogo Tachibana, Maria Schönbächler, Henner Busemann, Masanao Abe, Toru Yada

Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics


“The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft sampled approximately 5.4 g of asteroid material from the Cb-type asteroid Ryugu. Initial analysis of the Ryugu materials revealed a mineralogical, chemical, and isotopic kinship to the CI chondrites. The pristine nature of Ryugu makes the returned samples ideal for constraining the composition of the Solar System. However, some elements (e.g., P, Ca, Mn, and rare earth elements) show large relative dispersions compared to the other elements in the returned materials studied so far, most likely due to the presence of aqueously formed secondary minerals (e.g., carbonates, phosphates) in Ryugu. Therefore, the estimation of the Solar System composition using currently available Ryugu data is challenging due to the so-called nugget effect of carbonates, phosphates, and possibly other accessory minerals. The nugget effect can be mitigated by analyzing a homogenized, relatively large amount of sample. We estimate that for approximately 0.1 g of Ryugu sample, the dispersion (2SD) of the bulk Mn/Cr and Rb/Sr ratios are +/-13% and +/-15%, respectively, while they will be improved to be better than +/-5% for approximately 1 g of homogenized Ryugu sample. To further constrain the Solar System composition and to evaluate if previous estimates based on CI chondrites stored in museums for decades to centuries are reliable, it is strongly recommended to determine the chemical and isotopic compositions of Ryugu using a homogenized sample prepared from relatively large (approx. 1 g) returned material. Determining Ryugu reference compositions will be used by multidisciplinary communities, including Earth and planetary sciences, astronomy, physics, and chemistry.”