Launched in December 2014, the probe "Hayabusa-2"reached the asteroid Ryugu in June last year and in October was almost ready for landing on its surface. The action had to be postponed for 2019, since its surface was covered not with loose soil, as previously assumed, but with sharp stones. Researchers have already solved most of the problems, and an approach to the space object and an attempt to collect samples will take place on February 22 - the Japanese agency JAXA has conducted a cannon test that will break the hard stones into pieces.
Probe "Hayabusa-2" forced to use a gun, soas for collecting samples he does not have a mechanical arm. A shell weighing 5 grams will be released at the moment of contact of the spacecraft with an asteroid - the probe will make a revolution around the asteroid and collect scattered dust and pebbles into a special trap. Unfortunately, he will hardly be able to collect regolith, since it may not be on the asteroid's surface.
To make sure that the device is reallycan break a hard surface, the researchers conducted a laboratory experiment. They built a vacuum chamber and poured artificial gravel into it, imitating the asteroid's surface. The moment of release of the projectile into the material was filmed on a camera with a high frame rate - the video can be viewed below.
The shot was able to crush and lift into the airenough to complete the mission a number of stones. If the process goes as smoothly and in real conditions, the researchers intend to repeat the action with a more massive projectile. The collected materials will subsequently be transmitted to Earth - scientists hope to receive the first pure samples of the primary matter of the Solar System in history.
The probe has already begun analyzing the chemical features.asteroid. To this end, in September 2018, he landed on his surface devices MINERVA-II1A and MINERVA-II1B with temperature and optical sensors. It is noteworthy that they move on the surface by jumps - the use of wheels on the asteroid is impossible due to low gravity.
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