A Japanese spacecraft, Hayabusa-2 blasts the surface of asteroid Ryugu

Japanese spacecraft, Hayabusa-2

A Japanese spacecraft, Hayabusa-2, successfully blasts the surface of an asteroid named Ryugu, creating an artificial crater on the small world’s surface which scientists hope to snag. Japan’s space agency, JAXA, reported that the projectile, a two-kilogram copper cylinder, separated from the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft along with a camera known as DCAM3 to record this
“Small Carry-on Impactor” (SCI) operation. Hayabusa-2 flew to the far side of the Asteroid 162173 Ryugu, simply called Ryugu, to retreat from the debris that would be ejected when the projectile hit. “This is the world’s first collision experiment with an asteroid!” JAXA tweeted after the successful blast.

Japanese spacecraft, Hayabusa-2 released photographs

Hayabusa-2 was launched in 2014 and has been studying the 900 meters wide asteroid Ryugu up close since last June. The mission plan includes a touchdown of the spacecraft inside the crater to pick up a pinch of dust samples of the asteroid. In February this year, Hayabusa-2 had touched down on the asteroid’s surface and successfully collected the samples. But the second upcoming touchdown onto the asteroid, preceded by the latest blast on the surface will provide scientists with samples of subsurface dust which has not been exposed to sunlight or other space radiations for billions of years. Scientists hope to additional knowledge about the origin of inner planets, in particular the origin of water and organic compounds on earth, all relevant to the origin of life on earth.

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