A Box of Treasure from Asteroid Ryugu – Transcript


[Mysterious music]




Long ago, a fisherman named Urashima Tarō rescued a small turtle from a group of mischievous children.


A few days later, a giant turtle greeted Urashima Tarō, and carried him beneath the sea to Ryūgū Castle.


There, Princess Otohime thanked Tarō for rescuing the little turtle, and rewarded him with a mysterious box of treasure.



[Music transitions to jazz]




Today is really exciting, we’re picking up a bunch of samples from the asteroid Ryugu, and this is an asteroid that was visited by a spacecraft from Japan.


This was the Hayabusa2 mission, and this is the second mission of its kind that they’ve sent out to asteroids.


It’s very similar to the OSIRIS-REx mission that NASA has to the asteroid Bennu.


They went and visited this asteroid and they landed, actually, two rovers on the surface to help them figure out where they wanted to sample, and then brought the samples back here to Earth December of 2020.


Our partners at the Japanese Space Agency sent us a box full of samples from Ryugu.


So the first thing we have to do is make sure that everything is okay.


It would be really terrible to bring something that far away from space and then have something go terribly wrong in shipping from Japan to the US!


So we just wanted to check everything out, make sure that the packaging was intact, that everything that was shipped was there, and that nothing was leaking and it was all fine – and then we put it in the freezer for safekeeping.


So sample return mission is a really important scientific activity.


Often when we think about space exploration we’re thinking about rovers and flyby missions, and we forget the true value of just bringing things back into our analytical facilities here on Earth, and that’s something the scientific community has been doing really well for a long time.


If you think about the Moon samples and solar particles, and now asteroids are just some of the many samples that we’re bringing back to try and understand the solar system.



[Music fades]