On April 4th Spacecraft Hayabusa2 threw a bomb into the cosmic rock, then slipped to the roof to wait for the debris to settle – but before he did, he watched as the striker jumped to the asteroid called Ryugu.
The spacecraft, run by the Japan Aerospace Research Agency (JAXA), has been studying the asteroid for almost a year since June 2018. Spacecraft Hayabusa2 has interacted with Ryugu in a series of slightly aggressive ways – all designed to help scientists better understand cosmic rock and what he can tell us about the early days of the Solar System.
First, Hayabusa2 released a series of small, jumping ruvers on the surface. Then he descended to the surface of Riguu to suck up a sample of the rock. Then perhaps the most burst experiment of the batch came: using an explosive device to create an artificial crater on the surface of the asteroid.
Connected: Photos: Japanese Mission Hayabusa2 Asteroid for returning a sample
That's exactly what happened on April 4, and now JAXA released a video on the striking element on the road to space rock. The video is captured by the main spacecraft, so it cuts long before the explosion – to protect flying debrisHaiabusa2 leaned behind Ryugu and stayed there for about two weeks.
But the video still offers an incredible view of the rocky surface of the asteroid from 1,650 feet (500 meters) up.
JAXA managed to confirm within one day a maneuver that The impactor definitely hit the surface of Ryugu and dropped a grainy image of debris flying from the cosmic rock. But the agency has not yet published any images of the crater left behind.
Scientists will use these images – and perhaps even sample taken from the crater if the mission fulfills its other goals – to better understand the interior of Ryugu. The artificial crater has to dig out some of the surface materials of the asteroid, giving scientists access to an intact rock, unaffected by the harsh conditions of the cosmos.
In addition to inspecting the crater, JAXA also intends to release one last small rover The surface of Ryugu before packing and go home at the end of the year. When the spacecraft returns to Earth, it will bring with it the samples of the distant world that has spent so long in learning – the precious burden of invasive research.