In 2014, the Japanese space agency JAXAlaunched into the sky apparatus called "Hayabusa-2". He was sent to the side of the so-called asteroid Ryugu, having studied the surface of which scientists want to know how life appeared on Earth. The device flew to the asteroid in 2018, and only recently successfully descended onto its surface. He has already started collecting asteroid soil and for later sending to Earth - having studied them in the laboratory, scientists hope to find pieces of soil from the time of the Universe, which will reveal the secret of the origin of life.
Landing made scientists nervous - everyoneSince the device is at risk of breaking, but on July 11 everything went extremely well. He sank to the surface of a space object from a height of 20 kilometers at a speed of 10 centimeters per second. The landing site was a site with a 7-meter radius - the scientists chose it, because there are no large stones that can damage the design of the device.
How did the universe appear?
Also this place is notable for beingjust 20 meters from the depression, which was formed in April 2019, after the device threw a special explosive device onto the surface of the asteroid. In the course of the explosion, the ground was thrown from the depths of the asteroid to the surface - it is the vehicle that the apparatus is currently collecting.
The researchers hope that soil samples, inwhich lurks the secret of the origin of the universe, are precisely in the inner part of the asteroid. Earlier, the device had already descended to the surface of a space object — this happened in February 2019, but then Hayabusa-2 collected only surface samples. Perhaps, before sending samples to Earth, the device will make another landing on the surface of the asteroid.
The first landing, as mentioned above, wascarried out in February. Then the device had to demonstrate even greater accuracy, because the radius of the landing site was only 6 meters. Scientists could not control the movement of the device manually, because it is located at a distance of 340 million kilometers from the Earth, and the signals reach it for a very long time. In order to successfully land on the surface, the device first threw a beacon reflecting the sunlight on it - looking at it, he understood exactly which point he needed to descend.
This time landing was also carried out inautomatic mode. The device still focused on the beacon light - he threw it to the surface only from the second time, because the first attempt failed.
New photos of the surface Ryugu
How are asteroids being studied?
It is noteworthy that the Japanese agency is engaged instudying the surfaces of asteroids is not the first time. The first version of the Hayabusa apparatus worked from 2003 to 2010, and collected soil samples from an asteroid called Itokawa. They were brought to Earth inside a special capsule - it fell in Australia, while the apparatus itself burned in the sky.
Itokava asteroids (left) and Ryugu (right)
In total, the device collected 1500microscopic grains, the study of which scientists were engaged in for the whole five months. As a result, they managed to find out that once the asteroid was heated to 800 degrees Celsius - to reach such a temperature, the diameter of the object must reach 20 kilometers. Scientists have concluded that Itokawa asteroid is nothing but a fragment of another, even larger space object.
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