Hayabusa2 Sample Catcher and Container: Metal-Seal System for Vacuum Encapsulation of Returned Samples with Volatiles and Organic Compounds Recovered from C-Type Asteroid Ryugu
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- Okazaki, R., Sawada, H., Yamanouchi, S. et al. Space Sci Rev (2016). doi:10.1007/s11214-016-0289-5
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The spacecraft Hayabusa2 was launched on December 3, 2014, to collect and return samples from a C-type asteroid, 162173 Ryugu (provisional designation, 1999 JU3). It is expected that the samples collected contain organic matter and water-bearing minerals and have key information to elucidate the origin and history of the Solar System and the evolution of bio-related organics prior to delivery to the early Earth. In order to obtain samples with volatile species without terrestrial contamination, based on lessons learned from the Hayabusa mission, the sample catcher and container of Hayabusa2 were refined from those used in Hayabusa. The improvements include (1) a mirror finish of the inner wall surface of the sample catcher and the container, (2) adoption of an aluminum metal sealing system, and (3) addition of a gas-sampling interface for gas collection and evacuation. The former two improvements were made to limit contamination of the samples by terrestrial atmosphere below 1 Pa after the container is sealed. The gas-sampling interface will be used to promptly collect volatile species released from the samples in the sample container after sealing of the container. These improvements maintain the value of the returned samples.