Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 will try to deliver some asteroid material to Earth
Let's shoot an asteroid. It seems that this is a plot from a science fiction film, but before us is a reality. This week, the Japanese space agency JAXA plans to send the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft to Ryugu to take a sample.
Hayabusa-2 arrived at Ryugu asteroid in mid-2018 and managed to land two rovers and a landing gear to the surface. But sample mining is a complex and delicate process. The mission team decided to postpone the descent since last fall, since the surface of the asteroid turned out to be more rocky and difficult than it was believed.
The first sample mining attempt is scheduled for February 22 at 8:00 am Japanese time. To touch the surface using a cylindrical weight. More specifically, we are talking about special bullets. The device will shoot into the surface and collect the dust and particles that have risen. The team conducted an experiment on Earth to see how the instrument behaves with the gravel-covered Ryugu surface. The test included a projectile shot on a simulated surface simulating an asteroid. The analysis showed that the spacecraft system functioned perfectly.
Landing - a bold operation. The spacecraft should try to avoid boulders, but come close to get to the surface. If everything goes as planned, then Hayabusa-2 will return to Earth in 2020 with a small number of asteroid samples to study.