Hayabusa-2 spacecraftDate: 06 December 2020 Tags: Space
JAXA’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft will deliver the package containing samples collected from asteroid Ryugu back to Earth.
The spacecraft will drop the sealed package towards Earth, which will be collected and analysed by scientists.
Scientists expect the capsule to contain a small amount of asteroid material, with the goal of learning more about the origins of the solar system and life on Earth. Scientists believe that the rocks that compose the asteroid are around four billion years old.
The samples could shed light on "how matter is scattered around the solar system, why it exists on the asteroid and how it is related to Earth.
The samples were collected during two separate landings on Ryugu last year. During the first, the probe collected dust and blasted a hole in the asteroid's surface to find additional material beneath it. Several months later, the probe returned to the crater it created to collect more samples.
Hayabusa2 carries multiple science payloads for remote sensing, sampling, and four small rovers that investigated the asteroid surface to inform the environmental and geological context of the samples collected.
Hayabusa2 will head to the asteroid 1998KY26 after completing its current mission of delivering a capsule believed to contain samples of sand from the asteroid Ryugu to Earth.
Asteroid Ryugu is a primitive carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid. Carbonaceous asteroids are expected to preserve the most pristine materials in the Solar System, a mixture of minerals, ice, and organic compounds that interact with each other.
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.