A Japanese space wanderer called Hayabusa-2, Sokol-2, today did something that no one else has ever done before. He sat on an asteroid located 250 miles from Earth. But this is not the case – for the first time in the history of mankind, Sokol-2 took samples of rocks that were under the surface of this heavenly body. And it is believed that they have not changed much since then the birth of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
Haibusa-2 reached the Ruju asteroid last June – after making an incredible 3.2 billion-kilometer journey from the Earth from the elliptical orbit to it for more than three years. In February, the probe made the first landing of the asteroid and took samples of its surface cut off by the solar winds. Then, in April, he shot the Copper Coaster Dragon Palace and created an artificial crater that opened up the cliffs hidden in the depths.
Still today, Sokol-2 slowly sat inside the crater, dropped a pipe on his surface and fired a metal bullet. The pieces and particles of the rock inhaled the vacuum cleaner, and the probe immediately took off. The whole operation took a few seconds – and now the first part of Sokol's mission is over. From now on, he will have a long way to Earth-the beginning of the orbit of the asteroid will be at the end of the year.
"For the first time, we've come to a part of the history of the solar system," Professor Yuichi Zuda, head of the project, told reporters today. His staff is delighted, and especially at Japan's aerospace industry, JAXA, they hope that the samples obtained will be able to find traces of organic matter and water – which can help understand the ways in which life spreads in the universe.
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