Japanese probe “Hayabusa-2” will play the bombing of the asteroid Ryugu 5 APR

The Japanese aerospace exploration Agency (JAXA) announced future plans regarding the mission of the spacecraft “Hayabusa-2”, which last month landed on the asteroid Ryugu and collected samples of his soil, after being shot in the surface of the object with a special metal shell. As it became known, next month, JAXA is going to conduct a very risky operation – drop on the surface a small explosive projectile to create on the surface of the asteroid crater and collect subsurface soil samples.

According to scientists, the analysis of these samples may shed more light on the history of our Solar system.

Japanese space Agency explained that “Hayabusa-2” on April 5 will have to be reset on the surface of an asteroid bursting impactor the size of a Golf ball and weighs 2 pounds. Some time after this the spacecraft will collect samples of soil from the deeper layer of the asteroid, which is not exposed to cosmic and solar radiation.

In operation, after the projectile is dropped on the surface, the spacecraft will need to quickly move to the opposite side of the asteroid to prevent damage in the blast and rose into space debris. The head of the mission “Hayabusa-2” of JAXA, Takano Saeki notes that “the operation is quite difficult.”

As soon as the camera starts to move to the other side of the Ryuga, he is “shooting” a special standalone module with a camera that will take pictures of what is happening. On the other side of the asteroid “Hayabusa-2” will hold for a few weeks, then return to the bomb site to conduct observations and research of the crater. According to koji WADA, another leader of the mission, scientists plan to analyze the crater and the soil to better understand the history of its origin.

The day before the start of the operation to bomb the asteroid spacecraft “Hayabusa-2” will begin closer to the surface, down to a height of 20 kilometers. After that, the probe will reset the cone-shaped impactor containing an explosive substance. The explosion will deform the projectile by changing its shape to spherical. As a result, the projectile will collide with the surface of the asteroid at the speed of 2 kilometers per second.

At JAXA we hope that during this operation they will be able to create on the surface of the Ryugu crater with a diameter of 10 meters and a depth of 1 meter, unless of course the internal structure of the object would be softer. If the asteroid consists of a firmer subsurface soil, the crater will get smaller diameter.

Japanese space Agency plans to conduct short landing “Hayabusa-2” in the resulting crater. However, JAXA noted that the safety device is for them in the first place. If such operation is deemed unsafe, it will reject it. If the probe after the bombing did decide to land, it will be the first time in history, when the surface of such object will be sampled subsurface soil.

It is planned that all scientific operations, the spacecraft “Hayabusa-2” will be completed by the end of 2019. The collected soil samples Ryugu scheduled to deliver to Earth by the end of 2020 for further analysis.

The name of the asteroid was from Japanese folklore — the tale of the fisherman Urashima Taro who visited the underwater magic castle-Palace of Ryugu-Jo, the residence of the ruler of the sea dragon Ryūjin. From there, the fisherman brought home a mysterious paper box, presented to him by the daughter of the sea ruler. When choosing the name for the asteroid felt that the story resonates with the objective probe “Hayabusa-2” for the delivery of asteroid to the Earth of the soil sample, the composition of which is unknown.

The diameter of the asteroid, the Ryuga is about 900 meters. Its orbit some 300 million miles from Earth.

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