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Japan will blow up a crater in an asteroid for science – BGR



The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 does some big things during their time with the asteroid known as Ryugu. JAXA, Japan's space program, arrived at Space Rock last year and, after much planning at the end of last month, shot a projectile into its surface to collect some samples of its surface. Now JAXA is planning an even bolder maneuver.

It's great to get samples of Ryugu's surface, but JAXA also wants to get some material from the asteroid itself. Hayabusa2 is not equipped with a drill or digging tool to pierce the surface of the asteroid, but it did carry explosives.

Hayabusa2 & # 39; s first trial was quite straightforward, with the spacecraft falling off near the surface of the rock and then trapping some of the debris thrown up by the impact.

To obtain subterranean material, the probe will release a so-called "Carry-On Impactor" into the sky above Ryugu. The impactor consists of a larger copper projectile and an explosive charge. It's a bit of a one-shot cannon, and as soon as Hayabusa2 moves to a safe distance, it shoots into the surface of the asteroid and creates a large crater.

The crater JAXA estimates will be about one meter deep and as large as 1

0 meters in diameter will be the location from which Hayabusa2 will pick up its subsurface sample if all goes well. At this point, spacecraft safety is a top priority for JAXA, and although the researchers would love a sample from the asteroid, the assumption of the Touch and Go collection of samples depends on whether they are safe. The probe should fall down.

Impactor release is currently scheduled for April 5th, but it will take at least two more weeks for the dust and debris to be removed and JAXA to have a good look at the hole

Image Source: JAXA, University of Tokyo, University of Kochi, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST


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