The Japanese space program JAXA achieved a lot in 2019. After successfully leading its asteroid probe Hayabusa2 into space rock Ryugu in late 2018, the team of scientists involved in the mission initiated a series of potentially dangerous stunts. including the firing of projectiles on the asteroids to collect samples.
The mission had a number of challenges to overcome, especially after it turned out that Ryugu's surface was far more rocky and scattered than anyone would have thought. Collective maneuvers were successful. After spending many months in orbit around the rock, Hayabusa2 returns to Earth.
It's impossible to overstate how well things have developed for Hayabusa 2. After taking a good look at Ryugu's surface for the first time, JAXA quickly realized this. Gathering samples was riskier than expected. The scientists had to search for areas where the probe could fire their cannonball-like projectile and then dive down to grab the asteroid material before lifting it off.
This is no trifle, and considering that sent commands to the spaceship are delayed and there is no option for real-time control, it sounds virtually impossible. Somehow, JAXA has made it, and now the probe is on its way back to Earth, where zealous scientists can first examine asteroid material up close.
Investigating the construction of an asteroid such as Ryugu, which is believed to be it Provide a good representation of many rocks drifting through our system, and let us learn a lot about other nearby rocky bodies. Determining the formation of asteroids could even uncover secrets about the processes that shaped our own planet.
It's an exciting time for JAXA and the scientists involved in the mission, but they'll have to wait a while to get their hands on bits of Ryugu. Hayabusa2 will spend another year on the return journey to Earth before arriving in December 2020.