Japan probe Hayabusa2 makes asteroid landing

22 February, 2019, 11:28 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Japanese spacecraft to attempt landing on distant asteroid

Though its original touchdown date of October was delayed, mission scientists were able to conduct tests back here on Earth to further prepare for Hayabusa2's eventual contact with the asteroid.

JAXA's plan is for Hayabusa2 to lift off Ryugu and touch back down up to three times.

If successful, the probe will be able to collect samples that will eventually be brought back to Earth.

The spacecraft, called the Hayabusa2, is entering its final descent towards the Ryugu asteroid and will attempt to land on it on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency staff, as they confirmed the spacecraft Hayabusa2 made a tricky maneuver, at the control room of the JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, near Tokyo.

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The Ryugu asteroid that the explorer landed on is named after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale. It could take several days to confirm whether Hayabusa2 was able to fire the bullet during its touchdown.

Scientists believe the asteroid contains a relatively large amount of organic matter and water from when our solar system was born some 4.6 billion years ago.

The landing of spacecraft Hayabusa2 on the asteroid Ryugu - which is just 900 metres in diameter - came after an initial attempt in October was delayed because it was hard to pick a landing spot on the asteroid's rocky surface.

Photo: This image, taken from 40km above Ryugu, shows the asteroid's shape and the boulders on its surface.

On Oct. 3, 2018, Hayabusa2 released a small-sized Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout, also known as MASCOT, jointly developed by the German and French space agencies, which touched down successfully on the asteroid.

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