The camera has successfully recorded an attempt on a Japanese spacecraft to take a second sample of a distant asteroid. While the actual sampling occurred earlier in July, a video made of photos taken during the maneuver was just released on Friday, July 26th. The space sampling apparatus, Hayabusa2, was in orbit around the asteroid Ryugu in July 2018, and has already delivered robots and rovers to the asteroid. In the new video, you can see the ship's shadow growing constantly as it approaches the surface of the asteroid. When the stretched limb for collecting samples connects with it, dust and rocks explode from the surface as the spacecraft rises rapidly back into space.
This is a 10-fold animation speed shot with the small camera on the monitor (CAM-H) during the second touch. CAM-H is installed by public donation – thank you all! Image Time: 2019/7/11 10:03:54 ~ 10:11:44 JST, at an altitude of 8.5m ~ 150m. (JAXA) https://t.co/ZrzegHABYU pic.twitter.com/owtaDxZx0m
about 10 times) documents for the second time that the spacecraft has taken a sample of the asteroid. It is also and for the second time that the built-in camera – CAM-H, which has been fully funded by public donations – has taken action to collect samples.
A blog post on Hayabusa's official site2 mentioned the potential danger of a second collection attempt. The combination of unfriendly terrain, the technical difficulty of the maneuver, and the fact that the spacecraft had acted so far from Earth left the Hayabusa 2 mission control without error. As the team noted, just because they successfully managed to extract a sample in February, they did not guarantee such a good result with this next experience. They decide to try anyway, believing that all of these risks are significantly greater than the potential scientific wealth they expect if they can assemble a second sample. Unlike the first attempt, this time the team was trying to take material from the interior of the asteroid that was not subjected to as much radiation as on its surface.
Already in April, Hayabusa2 cracked a crater in the surface of Ryugu, exposing material from the inside of the asteroid in place. The crater's images were sent back to Earth a few weeks later, allowing the researchers to find out where the material was hit by the impact and whether they could safely try to collect it. They say it's at risk.
In addition, "let's be restless, we will not make any progress," the anonymous bloggers note.
Hayabusa2 has made progress in its mission since its launch in December 2014. The spacecraft must finally begin its journey home in November or December. He has to arrive on Earth sometime in the end of 2020, at this point he will send his valuable samples, which go down through the atmosphere as souvenirs of a very long and complete journey.