Of the various cosmic objects that have been studied by humans, asteroids are of great importance. Their study makes it possible to better understand the origins of the solar system, the potential contribution of these objects to the appearance of life on Earth or to develop ways to combat the dangers that they can represent. Recently, the Japanese space probe Hayabusa 2 projected an impactor on the asteroid Ryugu to dig a crater where he can collect monsters.
On the night of April 5 to 5, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 struck the 900-meter-high Ryugu asteroid with a kinetic copper projectile, with the aim of digging a crater that the spacecraft could then study. details in the coming weeks and months.
The Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) operation began around 2:00 GMT on April 5, when the copper plate was deployed from the main probe housing. About 40 minutes later, explosives projected the copper plate onto Ryugu at a speed of 7240 km / h.
" After the start of the operation, the DCAM3 camera, which separated from Hayabusa 2, took a picture of the ejection of the Ryugu surface, implying that the ICS was functioning as expected Say JAXA officials. " Hayabusa 2 works normally. We will provide more information once we have confirmed whether a crater has been created on Ryugu ".
The bombing was just one of the many milestones that Hayabusa 2 has seen since it arrived near the carbon-rich Ryugu in June 2018. The spacecraft dropped two small robbers on the stone-studded surface of the asteroid. at the end of September 2018 he dropped a 10 kg lander two weeks later.
And in February 2019, Hayabusa 2 turned on Ryugu and collected a sample of stone and dust during a short surface treatment. This material must be returned to Earth in December 2020 in a special return capsule.
This video looks back on the landing of the Hayabusa 2 probe on the surface of Ryugu in February to collect samples:
A second sampling operation could also follow if members of the mission team think it would be wise to do that, according to JAXA officials. Hayabusa 2 also has a small robber on board, which she could use this summer.
On the same subject: we have just received the first photos from the surface of an asteroid
The various data collected by Hayabusa 2 at Ryugu and by the scientists investigating the sample sent back to Earth should help researchers better understand the beginnings of the solar system. The mission can also emphasize the role that asteroids, such as Ryugu, may have played at the origin of life on Earth – for example, bringing water and organic molecules.
This video summarizes the entire mission of Hayabusa 2 since the beginning, as well as the future goals:
And another mission of this type is also planned. NASA & # 39; s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) aims to launch an asteroid Didymos moon impactor on the moon by 2022 to better understand how humans can infer potentially dangerous Earth-led NE & # 39; . A European survey called Hera will help with this assessment, by accurately measuring the impact on the Didymos system. Hera can even be on time to observe the collision.