Japan will blow up a crater in an asteroid for science – BGR


The Japanese space shuttle Hayabusa2 is doing great things during its passage to the asteroid called Ryugu. JAXA, Japan's space program, arrived in space last year and, after long planning, shot a projectile on its surface at the end of last month to collect samples. Now JAXA is planning an even more daring maneuver.

Getting samples from Ryugu's surface is a good thing, but JAXA also wants to extract some of the contents of the asteroid itself. Hayabusa2 is not equipped with a drill or an excavation tool to pierce the surface of the asteroid, but he has brought explosives.

Hayabusa's first attempt at sampling was quite simple: the spacecraft landed near the surface of the rock, firing a small projectile, and capturing some of the debris lifted by the impact.

To obtain materials beneath the surface, the probe will release what is called a cabin impactor in the sky above Ryugu. The impactor consists of a larger copper projectile and an explosive charge. It's a bit like a single-shot gun, and once released and Hayabusa2 moves a safe distance, it will fire on the asteroid and produce a large crater.

The crater, which, according to the JAXA, will measure about one meter deep and 10 meters in diameter, will be the place from where Hayabusa2 will go to get his underground sample if all goes well. At this point, spacecraft safety is a top priority for JAXA and, even if the researchers would like to get a sample of the asteroid, validation of the touch sample collection will depend on their safety. the probe to go down.

The impactor's release is currently scheduled for April 5, but it will take at least another two weeks before the dust and debris disappear and JAXA can get a good look at the hole they've created.

Image Source: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST

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