Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ The Japanese probe lands an asteroid to take a sample – Spaceflight Now

The Japanese probe lands an asteroid to take a sample – Spaceflight Now

After landing on asteroid Ryugu, Japanese Hayabusa 2 shoots this view of the landing zone from a distance of about 100 feet (30 meters), indicating the shadow of the probe and markings left on the surface, probably from the launch of the space launch aircraft ship. to start climbing. JAXA

Japan's space ship Hayabusa 2 briefly landed on an asteroid Thursday more than 200 million miles from Earth and shot a bullet to collect a rocky pattern by successfully completing one of the mission's toughest maneuvers to return the asteroid sample of scientists. on Earth in December 2020.

The spacecraft stays on Ryugu's surface for just a few minutes before firing the thrusters to get out of the asteroid. Hayabusa 2 ground crew in Sagamihara, Japan, celebrates when the radio signals are back from the probe, indicating that the touch maneuver has triggered without problems, thanks to the engineers who have carefully planned – then re-planning – the landing of the spacecraft.

] "The hand of mankind today has reached a new star," says Yuichi Zuda, head of the Hayabusa 2 project at the Japan Aerospace Research Agency (JAXA), through an interpreter. "JAXA has been successful in Hayabusa 2 touchdown operation (s) in Ryugu, and sampling by Ryugu."

Working alone, Hayabusa 2 descended to Ryugu with an ice rhythm on Thursday, reaching its expected heights and speeds. prior to contact with the surface at 2229 GMT (5:29 pm EST). Nineteen minutes later, the change in the signal coming from Hayabusa 2 showed that it reached the surface and started its climb, causing applause from thoughtful scientists in the control room.

The probe's navigation system tracks the location of the target marker on the asteroid surface allowing Hayabusa 2 to fire its control aircraft by directing the vessel to a narrow landing area surrounded by dangerous stones.

Yuichi Tsuda, head of the Hayabusa 2 project, shows a section of the spacecraft's height as he descends to the asteroid Ryugu during a press conference after a maneuver with a touch and exit on Thursday. At a press conference several hours later, JAXA mission officers confirmed that the spacecraft had performed impeccably during the landing.

Hayabusa 2 telemetry showed an increase in temperature within the 0.2-ounce (5 grams) Tantalis shell projectile fired into the asteroid. The probe uses explosives to shoot the bullet, and mission leaders say the temperature rise indicates the device is functioning as intended

The projectile had to shoot when the test horn stretching from Hayabusa 2 touched the surface of Ryugu. It is expected that the rock and dust exploded from the impact of the projectile will be transferred through the horns of the sample to one of the three chambers inside the spacecraft capsule that will return the samples back to Earth in 2020.

"After confirming the data sent by Hayabusa 2, we were able to confirm that Hayabusa 2 touch sequence, including a shotgun shot, was completed and Hayabusa 2's condition was normal, "Tsuda said at a press conference at the Sagamihara Control Center

Officials planned to seal the chamber containing the landing samples on Thursday, ensuring that the material remains unpolluted during the journey to Earth.

Hayabusa 2 is Japan's second mission to collect asteroid samples to return to Earth.

his predecessor, Hayabusa, flew to the asteroid Itokawa but collected only microscopic specimens from the site after encountering numerous problems, including malfunn in his own shelling system, fuel leakage, and damage to the reaction wheels. Hayabusa, which means a Japanese salt falcon, returned the small asteroid matter gathered back to Earth in June 2010.

The Hayabusa 2 Optical Navigation Camera photographed this view of the asteroid Ryugu from a distance of 6 miles (4 miles) 20, 2018. Credit: JAXA

Ryugu is shaped like a rotating top, with an average diameter of 900 meters. Its gravitational field is thousands of times less than Earth's, allowing Hayabusa 2 to fly around the asteroid with minimal fuel.

Scientists classify Ryugu as a C-type asteroid, meaning it is rich in carbon, the main building block of organic molecules. "Researchers are eager to get virgin samples from the asteroid to analyze in the labs and look for clues about the origin of water and life on Earth.

Called for Dragon Palace in a famous Japanese fairy tale, the asteroid Ryugu ends a chain of the sun every 1.3 years. His path briefly pushes him into the Earth's orbit, making Ryugu a potentially dangerous asteroid

While Hayabusa 2 explores Ryugu, the NASA OSIRIS-REx spacecraft studies another asteroid – Bennu – before his own sampling attempt next year. Like Ryugu, Bennu is a carbon-rich asteroid that regularly crosses the Earth's orbit.

OSIRIS-REx will bring home at least 60 grams or 2.1 ounces of samples from Bennu in 2023, while Hayabusa 2 can return at least 100 milligrams of asteroid material to Earth. Scientists hope that both missions will return with much more.

Tsuda said the engineers were not sure what a Hayabusa 2 sample was on Thursday. But officials are convinced that the shell has worked as expected, and Tsuda said he has "the highest expectations" that Hayabusa 2 has taken a "decent amount of sample".

Hayabusa 2 mission teams and OSIRIS-REx team cooperate in the asteroid. studies. JAXA and NASA have agreed to share asteroid samples brought to Earth by Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS-REx, and three US scientists from the OSIRIS-REx team have been assigned to the mission of the Japanese mission. In return, three Japanese researchers officially joined the OSIRIS-REx team.

The Hayabusa 2 ground crew presents a photo after the athlete Ryugu drops off on Thursday. JAXA

Hayabusa 2 launches on a Japanese H-2A rocket on December 3, 2014 and targets its asteroid target using ion engines arriving in the Ryugu region in June

In September robots rushed to the surface of Ryugu, and then released a European mobile scout to land on the asteroid in October. The miniature perches became the first mobile vehicles to explore the surface of an asteroid. All three robots returned images and scientific data.

The mission chiefs hoped to take the first test with Hayabusa 2 at the end of October, but the authorities postponed the descent to complete further analyzes and studies after the spacecraft found the asteroid was more rocky and robust than expected. Managers decided to place a target marker at their preferred landing point for the first sampling attempt at Hayabusa 2, helping the spacecraft move along a narrow corridor to reach a safe place where there are no stones that could threatening the mission.

Hayabusa 2 may try to collect two more samples from other places in Ryugu before leaving the asteroid in November or December. The spacecraft must begin its journey to Earth by the end of the year to return home in December 2020 when Hayabusa 2 will release a sample carrier to re-enter the atmosphere and land a parachute in Australia.

Tsuda targets completed the critical operations of Hayabusa 2 in the asteroid by June or July, when Ryugu made his wardrobe approach the sun in its 1.3-year-old orbit.

The concept of Hayabusa 2 spacecraft artist in the Ryugu asteroid, showing the horn of the sample probe in contact with the surface. Credit: JAXA / Akihiro Ikeshita

In one of the sampling maneuvers, Hayabusa 2 will shoot a copper plate 400 times more massive than the tantalum bullet used on Thursday to carve a crater of the asteroid, allowing the spacecraft to broke. surface material of Ryugu. The underground sample could be valuable to scientists because the material there was not exposed to the particles and the radiation that bombarded the surface of the asteroid. "We need to understand what to do with the two touchdowns that are still planned," Zuda said.

"We can not formulate a timetable right now," Zuda said. "We do not want to stay idle for a month. This is not our plan. The state of (spacecraft) is such that it is in the upper form. Perhaps every two weeks or three weeks there are critical operations we want to do. "

Takanao Saiki, a Hayabusa 2 engineer and flight director, said the release of the copper hack to create a Ryugu crater would be one of the mission's main highlights.

"As big as the touchdown operation, and it's pretty risky," Saike said on Thursday. "Honestly, the (striker) is really a challenge, but all team members use their brains in the touchdown operation to this day … We would like to celebrate today's success but from tomorrow we would like to start preparing.

"This has accelerated our momentum, but we have to remain cautious," Saiki said.

Email to the author. Follow Steven Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .

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