Japan’s Breakthrough Asteroid Mission Is Finally Returning Home

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The Hayabusa2 spacecraft is traveling millions of miles back to Earth with new samples of Ryugu asteroid.
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This NASA Spacecraft Could Unveil the Origins of Life – https://youtu.be/ougIjQXZ22w

In 2014, the spacecraft launched from the Tanegashima Space Center while aboard the H2A rocket. Its mission? To study and sample a C-type asteroid. Ryugu is one of the smallest objects ever visited by a spacecraft, but it’s worth going to because C-type asteroids are some of the most ancient objects in our solar system.

Scientists speculate that they were created during the violent beginnings of our solar system’s formation and could also carry the building blocks of life. These kinds of asteroids, though, are quite carbon-rich, causing coal-black surfaces that actually make it very difficult to see and study from Earth. So, when Hayabusa2 arrived at Ryugu in 2018, it was quite prepared to study the asteroid like never before.

This mission included, not only the main spacecraft with remote sensing instruments, but also a lander, small rovers, a sampling system, AND an impactor to create a small crater on the surface.

#hayabusa2 #ryugu #asteroid #space #seeker #science #countdowntolaunch

Read More:
Japan Spacecraft Carrying Asteroid Soil Samples Nears Home
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/japan-spacecraft-carrying-asteroid-soil-samples-nears-home
“Organic materials are origins of life on Earth, but we still don(asterisk)t know where they came from,” Yoshikawa said. “We are hoping to find clues to the origin of life on Earth by analyzing details of the organic materials brought back by Hayabusa2.”

What kind of asteroid is Ryugu?
http://www.hayabusa2.jaxa.jp/topics/20180404_e/
"The reason we do not yet understand Ryugu is because asteroids appear only as points even when viewed with a large telescope. This may seem a little strange! How are we able to see the shape of a galaxy tens of millions or even billions of light years away, but we do not know the shape of celestial bodies within our Solar System? Actually, a quick calculation can show you why this is true."

Asteroid explorer, Hayabusa2, reporter briefing
http://www.hayabusa2.jaxa.jp/enjoy/material/press/Hayabusa2_Press_20200915_ver9_en2.pdf
"The great challenges of sending Hayabusa2 to an unplanned destination. Long cruise over 10 years. Deterioration due to radiation of the optical system for the observation equipment and sensors. Evaluation of equipment through stellar observations and those of the Moon during the Earth swing-by. Zodiacal light and exoplanet observations can take advantage of the long cruise. "
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