Thursday , July 29 2021

New photos show the surprisingly large crater in the Ryugu asteroid from the Japanese Hayabusa2 Probe



Earlier this month, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft used an explosive device to create an artificial crater of the asteroid Ryugu, but the probe could not stay to confirm work for fear of being damaged by debris. The Japanese space agency has already confirmed the artificial crater – but it's not exactly what they expected.

Earlier today, while flying at a height of 1,700 meters above the asteroid Ryugu, Hayabusa2 uses its optical ONC-T to confirm the presence of a surprisingly large artificial crater on the surface. Considering the rocky composition of the area, JAXA scientists expect something less, so the exercise tells us something new about this asteroid and how it's formed.

On April 5, 2019, Hayabusa2 used an explosive device to blow a crater on the surface of Ryugu. Photographs made by the probe showed the baseball explosive device slowly descending to the surface.

JAXA, fearing that the probe would be damaged by the subsequent debris, hiding the probe behind the asteroid for about two weeks until the dust slowly settled in the low gravitational environment. Given that Hayabusa2 is in danger, JAXA has failed to confirm the presence of an artificial crater or its size.

To prove that Hayabusa2 has done its job, JAXA had the probe run over the place from April 23 to April 25. The images collected by the probe allowed the space agency to finally confirm the hole. "It is clear that the collision device generates a crater," JAXA said in a press release. With the confirmed crater, Hayabusa2 returns to its starting position, about 12.4 miles (20km) above the surface.

"The creation of an artificial crater with a javelin, and then in detail afterwards, is the first experience in the world," said Haidabusa project manager Yuichi Zuda, speaking to reporters earlier today, AFP reports. "It's a great success."

Deep Impact of NASA has removed an artificial crater on Tempel 1 comet on July 4, 2005. The difference in this case is that Hayabusa2 will now try to retrieve materials from this new crater while Deep Impact is capable of observing.

The Hayabusa2 explosive device had to pull material deeper into the asteroid, which would give new insights into the formation of asteroids and other celestial objects in the Solar System. Earlier in the mission the probe picked up the surface material of the asteroid. The probe is expected to return to Earth with its samples – both surface and surface – at the end of 2020.

Entering the mission, after evaluating the target area on the surface, JAXA scientists expected an artificial crater between 2 and 3 meters. Unexpectedly, however, the new crater appears to be about 10 meters (almost 10.06 meters), with the total area affected being about 20 meters. As noted in the AFP report, a loose sandy surface is expected to create a crater of this larger size, but the target area was rocky and full of stones.

The exact size and shape of the formed crater will be examined in detail, but it can be seen that the topography of the area around 20 [meters] is changing, "notes JAXA in a tweet,

"It was not supposed to be such a big change, so there was a lively discussion in the project. It seems that we can expect new achievements in planetary science. "

Massachiko Arakawa, a Kobe University professor working on the project, said "the surface is full of stones, but we have created such a large crater," AFP reported. "That may mean there is a scientific mechanism that we do not know or something specifically about Ruju's materials.

JAXA will continue studying the photos collected by Hayabsua2 over the past few days to learn more about the new crater and refine their ratings. Then the space agency will direct the probe to collect crater material, in a very delicate and precise operation, but possibly easier with unexpectedly large hole size.


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