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Hayabusa 2: The asteroid image shows traces of touchdown



  Touchdown site Image copyright
Jaxa et al.

Image Title

The discolored area may be caused by the ship's pushing devices or the "bullet"

A new image from the Japanese space machine Hayabusa-2 reveals a dark color where it dropped to the surface of an asteroid last week.

The aim of the touchdown of the asteroid Ryugu was to collect rock samples for a possible delivery to Earth.

Hayabusa-2 arrived in Ryugu in June 201

8 after a trip of 3.2 billion kilometers.

  • The Japanese probe touches an asteroid

During the sampling, the spacecraft approached the asteroid 1km wide with a tool called a horn for sampling.

When touched, a 5g "bullet" made of metal tantalum was fired at the rocky surface at 300 m / s.

Particles that are lifted from the impact must be caught by the horn for sampling. Then the spacecraft climbed to its initial position about 20 km off the surface of the asteroid.

The image is further, a visual confirmation that the landing has been completed.

Image copyright


Here is the same photo with the 6-meter target surface for surface application. The white arrow point pointing to it is the target marker

Hayabusa-2 had earlier released a small, reflective, bag-like bag on Ryugu. It was used as a guide when the spacecraft descended to the rough surface of the asteroid

The controllers were aiming for the center of a circle, about 6m in diameter, located about 4-5m from the target marker.

The Japanese space agency (Jaxa) originally planned to carry out the touchdown operation last October. But images show numerous, huge stones on the surface, making it hard for mission scientists to find a place that is large enough and flat to sample.

Image copyright
Jaxa et al

Earlier images of the touchdown do not show any change in color

The controllers hoped they would have an area of ​​about 100 meters in diameter. But due to the jagged surface features of Ryugu, it had to be reduced to a 6-meter circle for those who team members described as "touchdown doping". It is therefore important to choose a landing site devoid of stones with a height of more than 50 cm in order to reduce the likelihood that the body of a spacecraft will hit a rock.

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