Japan’s Hayabusa 2 probe has landed on asteroid Ryugu
Hayabusa 2 touched down on asteroid Ryugu yesterday around 10:30 p.m. Polish time. During its flight toward the surface, the probe fired a 5 gram projectile made of tantalum at the asteroid Ryugu, whichóry hit the surface at about 300 m/s. It „bombardment” was intended to erect a tumbleóin the dust, które then sucked up by the spacecraft for analysis. After downloading the próbek the probe has begun a maneuver to return to its old position.
Hayabusa 2 has reached a distance of about 300 millionóIn a kilometeróinto the asteroid Ryugu at the end of June last year. Podró¿ from Earth took nearly four years. Earlier, the probe deposited a pr on a space rockóbnik MASCOT and the two small MINERVA-II rovers, które thanks to weak gravity moved around the surface by jumpingów.
The two MINERVA-II jumpers were equipped with high-resolution cameras, but the MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) was the mainóThe mission’s main research instrument. Próbnik was equipped with a battery that allows only about 16 hours of operation. Since October, when it appeared on the surface of an asteroid, its batteries have long since run out. But „jumpers” have solar panels and are still functioning.
In addition to cameras capable of taking pictures in róof wavelengths, MASCOT was equipped to measure theóin temperature, magnetic field or infrared spectral microscope to study mineral composition and look for any evidence ofóon the fact that asteroids once contained water or organic molecules.
The collected próbki will be transported to Earth, where they will go to specialized laboratoriesóin research. Hayabusa 2 podró¿ back will begin in late 2019. The year póThen (around December 2020.) is expected to arrive with próbkami to Earth.
The maneuver to retrieve próbek was originally scheduled to take place as recently as last October. However, images sent by the probe revealed that Ryugu’s surface is bumpier than expected. Therefore, the compositeóThe mission manager needed more time to find a safe place to retrieve the próbek.
But a similar maneuver will be repeatedócast. JAXA engineers want to conduct a pr retrievalóbek twice more. The second descent and dust retrieval will look similar, but the third will rótion, especially that an explosive projectile will be used to shell the space rock.
The firing of the space rock is intended to break out a small crater and take próbek from under the surface of Ryugu. With this treatment, scientists hope to próbki of matter from the asteroid, whichóre were not exposed to cosmic radiation.
The Hayabusa 2 probe (Hayabusa means falcon in Japanese) is an almost identical copy of the Hayabusa probe, whichóra in 2005 took próbki from the asteroid Itokawa. Próbki hit Earth five years póź later. Hayabusa was the first mission thatórej managed to bring próbki from the asteroid to our planet.
Ryugu has 900 metersóin width and is considered a particularólnie an old type of asteroid, known as a C-class asteroid. Scientists believe Ryugu formed at the same time as the Solar System, more than 4 billion years ago.
Chemical and isotopic analyses of the rocks, performed in space by Hayabusa 2 and then in ground laboratories – may helpóc explain the origin of the Earth, especially the water found on our planet. Many scientistsów believes that Earth’s oceans were formed by bombardment of its surface by water-rich asteroids or comets.
Asteroid research is for scientistsóin very important. The material of whichórego were formed 4.5 billion years ago has not actually changed at all. The same cannot be said of the building blocks of planets or the moonóin, where tectonic movements, erosion and other factors have caused it to constantly change.