The hawk has landed. JAXA's Hayabusa2 probe (Hayabusa is a "hawk" in Japanese) not only landed on the Ryugu asteroid to collect samples Thursday, but also allowed a perfect touch.
Thursday was the second time that Hayabusa2 landed on the Ryugu asteroid after being initiated for the first time at space rock in February. Then he injected a bullet into the object to eject the dust that he could possibly bring back. This time, he went even further by collecting immaculate materials beneath the surface that had been exposed by another more intense explosion in April. This is a big problem because it is the first time that humanity receives a sample of a cosmic object farther than the moon.
"From the data sent by Hayabusa2, it was confirmed that the handshake sequence, including the unloading of a projectile for sampling, had been completed", said JAXA in a statement. "Hayabusa2 is functioning normally and the second touchdown has been successful.
This touch was far more complicated than the last. If there were any problems, it could mean that the probe would lose everything it had already stored since its last landing. During the April explosion, Hayabusa2 fired an "impactor" at the Ryugu surface to expose the invaluable material that had landed about 25 meters from the center of the crater. These materials are thought to be different from the rest of the crater, which further worries the astronomical community about returning the probe to Earth next year.
Ryugu (which translates as "Dragon Palace" and takes its name from a mythological castle at the bottom of the ocean) is 185 million kilometers from the Earth. Compare that to 238,900 miles for our satellite. This kind of difference almost gives the impression that you could literally jump on the moon.
Hayabusa2 has now completed a seven-year mission with many obstacles. Meanwhile, he sent robots and robots to explore the surface of Ryugu, but the samples on which he just received his hands are so innovative that they could give us a glimpse of the solar system right after the Big Bang. . Consider them as a kind of portal that will take us back in time, some 4.6 billion years.
Something as cool as that is that Queen's guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May created stereoscopic images of Ryugu and sent JAXA a video in support of the mission just before the touchdown. . Talk about being the champions.