Japanese probe "Hayabusa-2" sat on the asteroid Ryugu and collected samples of its soil

Japanese Aerospace Agency JAXA reportedon the successful landing of the Hayabusa-2 probe on the surface of the Ryugu asteroid, next to which it has been located since June last year. Preparation of the device for planting began on Thursday, albeit with a delay of 5 hours from the original scheduled time due to the protracted check of the operation of all systems. As a result, the probe still sat on a pre-selected relatively flat area with a diameter of 6 meters, located at the equator of the asteroid.

In addition to planting the device collected soil samplesasteroid. To do this, he fired a metal bullet at the object's surface and immediately collected the raised soil samples with a special dust collector. Particles of soil and stones are placed in an airtight container. Taking samples of his soil, the probe took off from a small celestial body.

The device is expected to return to orbitasteroid. The object probe will be approximately until the end of this year. It is assumed that during this time Hayabusa-2 will make two more landings on this celestial body and continue to collect its rocks. After completing all the tasks in 2020, he will go home to Earth.

Due to the protracted inspection of the apparatus’s systemsthe speed of its descent from a height of about 20 kilometers to the surface of the asteroid was significantly accelerated. The main difficulty of the operation was that it was impossible to control the landing of the probe from the Earth - the signal to the spacecraft at such distances goes too long, the asteroid is located about 340 million kilometers from the Earth. Therefore, the maneuver of the landing "Hayabusa-2" performed independently, being guided by the beacon reflecting the sunlight, which was dropped in advance in the landing area.

Initially it was assumed that "Hayabusa-2"will land on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu last October. However, the mission team found that the place chosen for this contains a large number of sharp stones about 60 meters high. After additional surface analysis, JAXA experts still managed to find a new site for landing the vehicle.

To the 900-meter asteroid Ryugu, whose orbitbetween the Earth and Mars, the Japanese probe Hayabusa-2 was sent in December 2014. Scientists believe that the object may contain rocks that have survived there since the formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists hope to find traces of organic matter and water in the collected soil samples. According to researchers, this will help to understand the secrets of the spread of life in the universe.

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