The primary objectives of Hayabusa 2 are to explore a C-type asteroid
believed to be rich in water and organic matter, return samples to earth and delve into the origins and evolution of the solar system.
"It should arrive at the C-type asteroid
in mid 2018, staying around there for one and half years before leaving the asteroid at the end of 2019 and returning to Earth around the end of 2020," said the Japanese space agency.
"This is a C-type asteroid
, and those are thought to be representative of the primordial materials from which our solar system was formed," said Wilson.
Recently, it was announced that the C-type asteroid
(24) Themis has been found to harbour water ice on its surface (H.
The uniformity indicates that the rock, classified as a C-type asteroid
because it contains carbonaceous material, is a pristine relic of the early solar system.
Dr Rita Schulz, the Rosetta project scientist, said: "It has an interesting surface and from the look of it, I would say it is more of a C-type asteroid
- but we can't really say anything yet.
The study - published in the journal Nature Astronomy - found that small fragments of material from C-type asteroids
are too fragile to survive entry into the Earth's atmosphere, explaining why meteorites of this type are rarely discovered here.
Named for the son of its discoverer, Jean-Jacques is an M-type asteroid, so called because it and other members of its class have a high metallic content (C-type asteroids
are carbonaceous, S-type silaceous).
About 1 percent of these ice-infused boulders, known as C-type asteroids
, were dropped into the outer regions of the asteroid belt.
are especially useful in this respect as they show a fairly featureless spectrum of uniform reflectance vs.
Moreover, c-type asteroids
could be resources for future space exploration.