Japan's Hayabusa-2 Collects Second Sample From Asteroid Ryugu

Katie Ramirez
July 11, 2019

To get at these essential materials, in April an "impactor" was sacked from Hayabusa2 in the direction of Ryugu in a risky process that created a crater on the asteroid's surface and whips up materials that had not beforehand been exposed to the atmosphere.

Hayabusa2 reached an altitude of 30 meters at 5:56 p.m PT, which was when it found the marker's location and begun to use it to position itself.

Hayabusa2 was launched in 2014 and is expected to return to Earth in 2020.

The Hayabusa2 mission has attracted worldwide attention, with Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May sending a video to the probe's team ahead of the landing.

Among the Hayabusa2 mission's innovations are its ability to create a crater on the surface of the asteroid, and its transport of the MASCOT robot.

"The landing was a huge success as (Hayabusa2) made a flawless move nearly in line with our expectations", said Takashi Kubota, a professor at JAXA's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, near Tokyo.

The asteroid, named Ryugu after an undersea dragon palace in a Japanese folk tale, is about 300 million kilometres (180 million miles) from Earth. JAXA said the particles could include water and organic materials. "Project Manager Tsuda has declared that the 2nd touchdown was a success!"

The spacecraft first arrived at the asteroid in June 2018 to carry out experiments.

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Hayabusa2 is the first to successfully collect underground soil samples from an asteroid and comes ahead of a similar mission planned by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) team at another asteroid.

Some within JAXA had suggested aborting the second landing and having the probe return to Earth with the samples collected from the first landing.

JAXA scientist Seiichiro Watanabe said Thursday's success is significant in learning about the asteroid because samples taken from two sites and at different depths can be compared.

The second touchdown requires special preparations because any problems could mean the probe loses the precious materials already gathered during its first landing.

The debris collected this time by the probe, which last landed on the Ryugu asteroid in February to take surface samples, will help gain new insight into the origins of life and the evolution of the solar system, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Hence, scientists hope to get more data on the origins of the Solar System.

Japan has successfully landed its Hayabusa 2 spacecraft on a distant asteroid for the second time.

It was hailed as a scientific triumph regardless of various setbacks throughout its epic seven-year odyssey.

Back in April the space cannon the spacecraft is equipped with hit Ryugu with a copper bullet, exposing its innards.

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