JAXA has released footage of the landing on asteroid Ryugu
On February 22, Japan’s Hayabusa 2 probe touched the Ryugu asteroid for a few moments to collect samples from its surface. The JAXA agency released short videos edited from photos taken during the maneuver.
Hayabusa 2 has reached a distance of about 300 millionóin kilometeróin the Ryugu asteroid at the end of June last year. PodróThe journey from Earth took nearly four years. Previously, the probe deposited on the space rock próbnik MASCOT and two small MINERVA-II rovers, whichóThanks to weak gravity, they were able to move across the surface by leaps and boundsów.
The maneuver of taking próbek was originally scheduled to take place as late as October last year. However, images sent back by the probe revealed that the surface of Ryugu is notówna and difficult to find a safe place to land on it. Therefore, the teamóThe mission manager needed more time to determine the right place to take próbek.
The difficult maneuver was decided on at the end of February. During its flight toward the surface, Hayabusa 2 fired a 5-gram projectile made of tantalum at the asteroid Ryugu, whichóry hit the surface at a speed of about 300 m/s. This „bombardment” aimed at stirring up a tumble ofóin dust, whichóre during the shortótic landing and touching the probe’s arm were sucked up by the spacecraft for analysis. After taking próbek the probe began a maneuver to return to its old position.
Collected próbki will be transported to Earth, where they will go to specialized laboratoriesów research. Hayabusa 2 podró¿ back will start at the end of 2019. Year póLater (around December 2020.) is expected to arrive from próbkami to Earth. But before that happens, JAXA engineers want to carry out the maneuver twice more to retrieve próbek.
The published video shows the moment the probe approached the surface of Ryugu, and small fragments of rock floating just moments before the probe’s robotic arm touched the surface. Chunks of rock were raised by the aforementioned missile. These are the ones that have been collected and will go for analysis in Earth’s laboratories. In the shadow cast on the surface of Ryugu, the outline of a Japanese spacecraft can be seen.
Ryugu’s 900-meteróin width and is considered a particularlyólnie 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 – can 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.
The study of asteroids is for scientistsóvery important. The material from whichóre were formed 4.5 billion years ago virtually unchanged. This cannot be said of the building blocks of the planets or the moonów, where tectonic movements, erosion and other factors have caused it to constantly change.