Home tech the probe successfully created a crater on the Ryugu asteroid via an...

the probe successfully created a crater on the Ryugu asteroid via an impactor

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.

impactor hayabusa2 probe

The small collision body aboard the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 is seen here after separating the spacecraft on April 4, 2019 (April 5, JST), just before it crashed on the asteroid Ryugu. The optical navigation camera of Hayabusa 2 captured this photo about 500 meters above Ryugu. Credits: JAXA

" 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 ".

crater ryugu impact

This image captured by the DCAM3 camera of Hayabusa 2, which was deployed from the spacecraft, shows an ejection of the surface of the Ryugu asteroid caused by the collision of the collision body. Credits: JAXA

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:

Hayabusa 2 can also collect another sample – from the crater that he has just created, provided that the SCI operation generates one large enough to find the vessel. The probe will by far follow this crater and examine the newly discovered material. (The rock and earth on the surface of Ryugu have largely changed due to space radiation).

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:

Hayabusa 2 is not the first to hit an object. For example, in 2005, NASA & # 39; s Deep Impact spacecraft ventured into Comet Temple 1 to help scientists better understand the composition of the comet. And in 2010, NASA & # 39; s LCROSS mission projected an impactor into a crater near the South Pole of the Moon, which revealed significant amounts of water.

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.

Sources: JAXA (1, 2)

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