Japanese probe “Hayabusa-2” sat on the Ryugu asteroid and collected samples of soil

The Japanese space Agency JAXA announced the successful landing of the probe “Hayabusa-2” on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu, near which it is from June of last year. Preparation of the unit for landing began on Thursday, though with a delay of 5 hours from the original scheduled time due to a prolonged health check of all systems. In the end, the probe has sat down on a pre-selected relatively flat ground with a diameter of 6 meters, located at the equator of the asteroid.

In addition to planting the device has collected soil samples of an asteroid. For this he shot at the object surface with a metal bullet and immediately gathered rose rock samples special vacuum cleaner. Particles of soil and stones placed in a sealed container. Taking samples of the soil, the probe took off from a small celestial body.

The unit is expected to return to the orbit of the asteroid. The object probe will be around the end of this year. It is assumed that during this time “Hayabusa-2” will make two more landing on this celestial body and continue collecting his rocks. After completing the entire task in 2020 he to go home to Earth.

Because of the protracted review systems of the apparatus the speed of its descent from an altitude of about 20 kilometers on the surface of the asteroid was greatly accelerated. The main difficulty of the operation was that to manage the process of landing a probe from Earth is not possible — the signal to the apparatus at such distances is too long, the asteroid is approximately 340 million kilometers from Earth. Therefore, the maneuver of landing “Hayabusa-2” carried out independently, focusing on reflecting the sun light the beacons, which were previously dumped in the landing area.

Initially it was assumed that “Hayabusa-2” will land on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu last October. However, the mission team found that the chosen place for this contains a large number of sharp rocks with a height of about 60 meters. After further analysis of the surface specialists JAXA managed to pick up a new platform for the landing.

To a 900-foot asteroid the Ryuga, whose orbit lies between Earth and Mars, the Japanese probe “Hayabusa-2” were shipped in December 2014. Scientists believe that the object may contain rocks, preserved there since the formation of our Solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists hope to find in collected soil samples of traces of organic substances and water. According to researchers, it will help to understand the mysteries of the distribution of life in the Universe.

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