|Discovered by LINEAR|
Alternative names 1999 JU3
Observation arc 9567 days (26.19 yr)
Discovered 10 May 1999
Argument of perihelion 211.4547°
Asteroid group Apollo asteroid
|Discovery date 10 May 1999|
Minor planet category Apollo asteroid
Aphelion 1.4158 AU (211.80 Gm)
Named after Ryūgū-jō
|Discoverer Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research|
Similar 25143 Itokawa, Solar System, 101955 Bennu, 433 Eros, 4179 Toutatis
162173 Ryugu (provisional designation 1999 JU3) is an Apollo asteroid. It is planned that the Japanese space probe Hayabusa 2 returns samples from this asteroid by December 2020. It is the rare spectral type Cg, having qualities of both a C-type asteroid and a G-type asteroid.
Ryugu was discovered in 1999 by the LINEAR project, and was given the provisional designation 1999 JU3.
The asteroid was officially named Ryugu on 5 October 2015. Its name refers to Ryūgū-jō (Dragon's Palace), a wonderful and magical palace on the bottom of the ocean where Urashima Tarō, in a Japanese folktale, was brought by a turtle. When he returned, he brought back with him a mysterious box—much as Hayabusa 2 will bring back a capsule with samples.
Planetary Resources speculates that the current value of the asteroid for mining purposes as of July 2016 is $95.02 billion.