Science

Japan's spacecraft drops explosive on asteroid to form crater

Japan's spacecraft drops explosive on asteroid to form crater”

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency says it's highly likely that probe Hayabusa2 has succeeded in the world's first mission of creating a crater on an asteroid to study its interior.

At about 11 a.m. on April 5, the impactor used to make the crater separated from the probe, followed by the detachable "DCAM3" camera.

"We are thrilled to see what will happen when the impactor collides with the asteroid", Takashi Kubota, engineering researcher at the Japanese space agency (JAXA), told reporters earlier this week. JAXA reports that the copper explosive weighed in at 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) which made it the size of a baseball.

The country's space agency has launched a key part of a unique mission, created to get underground samples from an asteroid, floating in space 300 million kilometres away from our planet.

If successful, it would be the first time for a spacecraft to take such materials. In a similar mission in 2005, NASA blasted the surface of a comet but never recovered the fragments.

The so-called "small carry-on impactor", a cone-shaped device capped with a copper bottom, will emerge from Hayabusa2 on Friday, after the probe has arrived just 500 metres above the asteroid Ryugu. The mission is the riskiest for Hayabusa2, as it has to immediately get away so it won't get hit by flying shards from the blast. JAXA later confirmed the impact from images transmitted from a camera left behind by the spacecraft which showed the impactor being released and fine particles later spraying dozens of meters (yards) out from a spot on the asteroid.

The agency hopes to gather underground samples of Ryugu, which could contain organic substances and water that could point to the origins of the solar system, Japan's Kyodo News reported.

To avoid being damaged by the force of the explosion, Hayabusa 2 was programmed to move to the other side of the asteroid after it releases the bomb. The experiment began on the morning of April 5, Japanese time, and images of the event captured by a detachable camera were later relayed back over the some 300 million kilometers to Earth.

Mission leader Makoto Yoshikawa said: "So far, Hayabusa2 has done everything as planned, and we are delighted".

The mission will be the latest in a series of explorations carried out by the Japanese space agency's Hayabusa2 probe and could reveal more about the origin of life on Earth. In February, the spacecraft physically touched down on Ryugu and fired a small pellet into its surface. The craft is scheduled to leave the asteroid at the end of 2019 and bring the surface fragments and underground samples back to Earth in late 2020.

Ryugu is now located about 310 million kilometers away from Earth.

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which has been studying the 3,000-foot-wide (900 meters) Ryugu up close since last June, released a 4.4-lb. Hayabusa 2 will eventually descend to the surface in order to collect a sample from the crater.

"One thing I'm pretty sure of is that it will throw up some unexpected results", said Bridges, who believes that information from Ryugu samples could make us think again about the early evolution of the solar system.



Like this

loading...
loading...

Latest


09 April 2019
Euroskeptic, populist parties form alliance in Europe
For now, only four parties have signed up to the idea - and the European group can only be formed after the elections in May. Salvini is meeting Monday in Milan with leaders of the Danish People's Party, The Finns Party and Alternative for Germany .

09 April 2019
Chinese woman arrested at Trump's Florida resort to remain in custody
The Secret Service has no audio security recordings of its interactions with her and what she said on the grounds of Mar-a-Lago. Secret Service agent Samuel Ivanovich , who interviewed Zhang on the day of her arrest , testified at the hearing.

09 April 2019
Arizona hosts Boston for home opener
His performance marked the seventh time in team history a hitter has homered as a lefty and righty in the same game. He flung a water cooler against the back wall of the Red Sox dugout after being removed in the fifth.

09 April 2019
Suarez And Messi Score As Barcelona Beat Atletico Madrid 2-0
Diego Costa , for his part, claims that his comments were referring to himself and not the referee although it is not clear exactly what was said.

09 April 2019
Fleetwood Mac Pull Out of Jazz Fest, Days After Replacing Rolling Stones
The band's statement noted October or November 2019 as potential dates for rescheduling the six cancelled North American concerts. The band has also postponed several upcoming North American tour dates in Canada for the same reason.

09 April 2019
S. Korea launches 5G smartphone networks ahead of schedule
The US firms said it planned to introduce the new service in more than 30 locations across the country by the end of the year. Motorola said its Z3 phone would deliver data 10 times faster than other 4G LTE devices, but it is not a true 5G phone.

09 April 2019
Game of Thrones guide
After the NY premiere of GOT Season 8, Kit got busy with rehearsing for Saturday Night Live and the episode has finally aired. Leslie also asked Harington if he was going to grow his Jon Snow beard back. "We were never friends", Harington said.

09 April 2019
UK plan steps up global crackdown on social media
The regulator will also be empowered to hold individual executives of technology firms responsible if they fail to comply. The measures would apply to social media, file hosting sites, chat forums, messaging services and search engines.

09 April 2019
Bartomeu: We couldn't compete with Man United for Paul Pogba
And fans took to social media to hail the attacker, with many claiming Hazard will quit Stamford Bridge for Real Madrid .

09 April 2019
Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship: Olivia Mehaffey finishes tied for 23rd
Tied again, she delivered the victor with a 7-iron on the par-3 16th that caught the ridge and fed down to the hole. The four represented the number of birdies Kupcho felt like she needed to make on the last seven holes to win.