The Japanese asteroid research mission successfully launched

The Japanese asteroid research mission successfully launched

On Wednesday, Japan successfully launched a probe destined for a distant mission to an asteroid for a period of six years, just a few days after the European Space Agency’s historic landing on a comet.

The Hayabusa-2 spacecraft launched aboard the Japanese H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in the south of the country.

The rockets broke away from the gravitational pull of the Earth at 1:22 pm (4:22 GMT) after a small launch delay due to bad weather. According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft was successfully separated from H-IIA and entered the planned orbit around the planet during its mission.

The probe will use the gravity of the Earth as a slingshot to set off towards its target.

The Japanese asteroid research mission successfully launched

Rejoicing at the control center of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Television showed footage of enthusiastic applause from the JAXA team after a successful launch, while social network users wrote their congratulations to the team. The project, worth 31 billion yen ($ 260 million), will explore the 1999 JU3 asteroid in deep space. The device will undermine one of the craters of the asteroid to collect material that has not been exposed to millennial exposure to winds and radiation, in the hope of answering some fundamental questions about life and the universe.

Hayabusa-2 is expected to reach the asteroid by mid-2018 and will be in this zone for 18 months.

The device will lower the tiny MINERVA-II probe, as well as the French-German capsule called the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for surface surveillance.

If all goes well, the asteroid samples will be returned to Earth at the end of 2020. The carbon asteroid is believed to contain organic matter, water and materials of life. An analysis of extraterrestrial material can help scientists shed light on the origin of the solar system 4, 6 billion years ago and give clues about what led to the emergence of life on Earth.

The Hayabusa-2 mission started just a few weeks after the European Space Agency managed to make the first comet landing in history.

The Japanese asteroid research mission successfully launched

Exact copy of Hayabusa capsule

Scientists have reported that the source data sent from the Phil module contains traces of organic molecules that turned out to be much more complicated than expected. JAXA intends to deliver 100 mg (1 / 286th ounce) of samples to Earth, after traveling back and forth over five billion kilometers.

The probe is the successor of the first asteroid explorer JAXA Hayabusa (translated from the Japanese “Falcon”), who returned to Earth in 2010 with dust samples after a seven-year mission. The spherical asteroid 1999 JU3, which is about a kilometer in diameter, scientists believe, contains much more organic matter and water than the potato-like asteroid, which the first Hayabusa studied.

Despite numerous problems during her epic seven-year odyssey, including a temporary loss of communication and engine damage, the first Hayabusa was hailed as a scientific triumph when it returned to Earth.

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