A Japanese probe sends a snapshot after sample mining

A Japanese probe sends a snapshot after sample mining

The Japanese spacecraft celebrated the successful acquisition of an asteroid sample with an amazing photo. Hayabusa-2 took a picture on February 21, just a minute after he briefly touched the near-earth asteroid Ryugu, fired a metal bullet at the surface, collected some of the garbage dumped and re-gained altitude.

The photograph clearly shows the shadow of the probe when it was located at a height of 25 m above the surface. The color of the area next to the shade is different from the environment, as this area was discolored upon planting. Now it is difficult to specify the exact cause, but perhaps it’s all about the engines or the shot.

A Japanese probe sends a snapshot after sample mining

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 took this photo immediately after February 21, 2019 extracted a sample from the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. The dark area near the probe's shadow is a landing place that could change color under the influence of the ship’s engines or a bullet ejected

The ship Hayabusa-2 was launched in December 2014 and arrived at the 900-meter asteroid Ryugu in June 2018. The mission became famous for several successful stages: landing two jumping rovers and one platform to the surface last fall. There was still a spare device capable of landing in the near future. Over the next few months, Hayabusa-2 will perform two more raids for samples. The first one will remind the previous operation (a bullet shot), while the second one uses a large kinetic impact object, which will allow creating a crater and collecting samples under the surface layer.

If everything goes according to plan, the samples will return to Earth in a special capsule in December 2020. Researchers will begin a comprehensive analysis of the samples, trying to find clues about the early history and evolution of the solar system. They also seek to understand what role carbon-rich asteroids have played in the appearance of life on our planet.

NASA also has a similar mission - OSIRIS-REx. On December 31, 2018, the ship arrived at the 500-meter asteroid Bennu and in the middle of 2020 is going to take samples. The material in the capsule will be delivered in September 2023.

Comments (0)