Japan’s space agency, JAXA, has recently announced that its Hayabusa-2 spacecraft will soon try to drop an explosive on the distant asteroid Ryugu to make a crater. The mission of the probe is to collect underground samples which could help us understand more about the origin of the solar system.
Hayabusa-2 will have a critical mission to accomplish
The 22nd of February was an important date for the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which made history by landing on Ryugu asteroid and collecting several surface fragments.
On the 5th of April, the space vehicle is scheduled to drop an impactor that weighs 2 kg on the asteroid. Hayabusa-2 will then need to start collecting samples from deeper underground.
The spacecraft will have to move pretty fast to the other side of the asteroid, to avoid getting hit by flying pieces from the blast. According to Takanao Saeki, who is a project engineer at The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), this will be “very challenging.”
Scientists’ mission is to determine the history of asteroid Ryugu
Hayabusa-2 will also need to leave a camera behind, which is meant to capture the outcome. The spacecraft will return to the place above the crater for observations a couple of weeks later. JAXA scientists want to analyze various details about the cavity so that they can determine the history of the asteroid.
Hayabusa-2 is scheduled to start descending to the asteroid one day before the mission. The spacecraft will drop some explosives on the asteroid Ryugu, which will create a crater of up to 10 meters in diameter with a depth of 1 meter.
JAXA is also thinking about landing Hayabusa-2 in the crater, but they will first take into consideration whether this is safe for the spacecraft or not. If the team manages to do this, it would be the first time when a probe would take pieces from underground.
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