Last updated: June 30, 2018 15:59
When the probe arrived, researchers were in for cheers.
A Japanese probe has reached a 300 million kilometer distant asteroid gather information about the birth of the solar system and the origin of life after more than three years of travel through space.
The Hayabusa2 probe has successfully established itself 20 kilometers above the Ryugu asteroid at a viewing position by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Wednesday
The researchers erupted in cheers when the probe was in place , a feat that JAXA described as "shooting from Japan at a six-centimeter target in Brazil"
"Today" We are at the beginning of a space exploration exploration unprecedented for humanity, "said project leader Yuichi Tsuda to reporters
The successful mission came a few days before the UN International Asteroid Day on June 30. This event seeks to draw attention to the dangers of asteroid impact and technological advances to counter such a threat.
Scientists hope using samples from Ryugu which are believed to contain relatively large quantities, References to Life on Earth from Organic Substances and Water
Photos of Ryugu ̵
The Hayabusa2 probe was in good shape and ready to explore the asteroid in the next 18 months, JAXA said.
The next step is to identify suitable locations for sampling. On the asteroid, scientist Seiichiro Watanabe said:
& # 39; Impactor & # 39;
Hayabusa2, about the size of a large refrigerator and equipped with solar panels, is the successor to JAXA's first asteroid researcher Hayabusa – Japanese for hawks. 19659004] This probe returned in 2010 despite various setbacks during an epic seven-year odyssey of a smaller, potato-shaped asteroid with dust samples and was hailed as a scientific triumph.
The Hayabusa2 mission costs 30 billion yen ($ 274 million) and the probe was launched in December 2014. She will stay on the asteroid for 18 months before returning to Earth with her samples.
The total flight time was 1,302 days and crossed 3.2 billion kilometers in a detour To get to his destination, Tsuda told reporters:
To collect his samples, an "impactor" is released that explodes above the asteroid and a two kilogram (4 pound) copper object shoots into the surface to dig out a crater (19659004) From this crater the probe will collect "fresh" materials that have been unexposed for millennia by wind and radiation, hoping for answers to some basic ones Questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from the pace helped create life on earth.
The probe will observe the surface with its camera and sensor equipment, but also MINERVA-II rover robots and a French-German landing package called Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) for surface observation.