Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft has made its 2nd touchdown on a distant asteroid in our solar system as reported by Japanese space agency JAXA
Hayabusa 2 is an asteroid sample operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA. It follows on from the Hayabusa mission which returned asteroid samples in 2010
It is in the process of surveying the asteroid for a year and a half, departing in December 2019, and returning to Earth in December 2020
- Hayabusa 2 carries multiple science payloads for remote sensing, sampling, and four small rovers that are investigating the asteroid surface to inform the environmental and geological context of the samples collected.
- Hayabusa 2 specifically will explore asteroid Ryugu in our solar system. The asteroid Ryugu is one of the primitive near carboniferous object similar to our Earth and holds large secrets to the origin of our universe.
- Studying it is expected to provide additional knowledge on the origin and evolution of the inner planets and, in particular, the origin of water and organic compounds on Earth, all relevant to the origin of life on Earth
- Compared to the previous Hayabusa mission, the spacecraft features improved ion engines, guidance and navigation technology, antennas, and attitude control systems.
- A kinetic penetrator was shot into the asteroid to expose pristine sample material that was later sampled for return to Earth.