The Japanese space agency pulled something awesome this week. His space ship Hayabusa2 touched the asteroid Ryugu, gathered a sample and jumped again.
To recall this, we now have an epic picture of the surface of Ryugu, which potentially shows signs of this historic meeting.
Hayabusa2 actually arrived at Ryugu in June last year and released two small, tin ruers to explore the asteroid in September. (Because they are so small and the terrain is so rough, these rovers are coming, jumping over the ground.)
But the spacecraft did not go right there to release the ruvers. The most exciting part of the mission of Hayabusa2 is to return an asteroid pattern to Earth.
Here's how you get a sample of an asteroid. On February 22, Hayabusa2 made his first touch on the surface of Rigu ̵
Yes, he shot the tantalum bullet at a speed of 300 meters per second (984 feet per second) on the surface of the asteroid. This impact awakened material that, I hope, slipped into Hayabusa's waiting collector.
Overall, the meeting took less than a minute. The new image is made one minute after the landing, when the spacecraft has already bounced off the asteroid and looking back from a height of about 25 meters.
The picture shows the shadow of the spacecraft as it climbs, along with mysterious dark landmark traces that were not there before landing
There is a useful mark on this in the image below – the purple circle shows the place landing before (left) and after (right). The red arrow points to the Hayabusa2 direction marker fallen on the asteroid before landing. JAXA, University of Tokyo and Associates) "At the moment," the Japanese Aerospace Research Agency (JAXA) writes on its website, "the cause of the discoloration is unknown, but may be due to the sand that has been blown up by spacecraft pushers or bullet (projectile). "
Fortunately, we may be able to monitor the phenomenon again. This was only the first of the triple sampling probes – which means there will be two more before Hayabusa2 to say goodbye to Ryugu and embark on the long road to home in December this year.
We'll be interested in seeing these touchdowns. And, of course, what we learn from Ryugu's samples – and how they compare with the Asokawa asteroid samples brought to Earth by the precursor of the spacecraft, the original Hayabusa, in 2010