Science

JAXA Hayabusa-2 Found Water on Asteroid Ryugu

JAXA Hayabusa-2 Found Water on Asteroid Ryugu”

The Japanese space agency has now confirmed the artificial crater - but it's not exactly what they expected.

On Thursday, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency released images showing the asteroid before impact and after, revealing a small crater that it is now examining to determine whether it is safe for Hayabusa2 to go down and take some material.

'This is a big success'. That right time came along on September 2018 when the spacecraft deployed its two miniature rovers to the asteroid's surface.

The unmanned spacecraft created the crater near the asteroid's equator by firing a 2-kilogram copper mass into the asteroid at high speed from a "small carry-on impactor" device that separated from the probe above Ryugu.

Masahiko Arakawa, a Kobe University professor working on the project, said the "surface is filled with boulders but yet we created a crater this big", reported AFP.

Going into the mission, and after evaluating the target area on the surface, JAXA scientists expected an artificial crater between 2 and 3 meters. The agency then compared photographs of Ryugu's surface before and after the sending of the projectile to calculate the presence of a crater made by man.

If the probe succeeds in its mission, it could lead to unlocking the mystery of how the solar system was formed as well as where water on Earth originated.

In February, Hayabusa2 touched down briefly on Ryugu and fired a bullet into the surface to puff up dust for collection, before blasting back to its holding position.

Photos of Ryugu - which means "Dragon Palace" in Japanese and refers to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale - show the asteroid has a rough surface covered with boulders.

The probe launched in December 2014 and arrived at the dice-shaped space rock on June 27, 2018.

The asteroid Ryugu is located between Earth and Mars. After the impact, the Hayabusa2 sampling arm picked up the debris for study.

JAXA said that it wants to examine the crater in greater detail in the months and years ahead, and confirmed that the blast affected an area about 20 metres in diameter.

Asteroid Ryugu is categorized as a C-type asteroid, and it is believed to hold organic substances and water with traces of the primitive Solar System. It is scheduled to return to Earth with its samples in 2020.

The probe is loaded with four surface landers, an array of cameras and even an explosive device that will dig out subsurface rock samples.



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