Japan will seek to collect samples from this asteroid on 11th July

Overview

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will touch the surface of the asteroid Ryugu for the second time. Japan will seek to collect samples from this asteroid on 11th July. The aim is collecting material ejected from the subsoil by the detonation of an explosive.

Currently, the team is carefully examining and reviewing landing operation plans. This way they can safely pick up material from Ryugu’s subsoil, the mission reports on its Twitter account.

According to the authorities, unless the spacecraft does not land this year, it could experience difficulties due to the increasing temperatures of the asteroids.

Background

The spacecraft first landed in Ryugu in February, several months behind schedule due to problems with the rocky surface. This second landing was scheduled for May. Unfortunately, it has been delayed until the most favourable place to touch the ground was found.

However, Jaxa managed to drop a target marker on Ryugu’s surface by bringing the spacecraft within 9 meters of the asteroid.

The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) believes that the Ryugu subsoil contains organic substances and water with traces of the primitive solar system.

Hayabusa 2 will also study the asteroid’s internal structure. It will observe the surface before and after the collision of the projectile. In addition, it will acquire the necessary data for planetary collision science.

Hayabusa 2 launched in December 2014 from the Tanegashima Space Center, in the southwest of the Japanese territory,  and arrived in Ryugu last June after travelling 340 million kilometers.

Return to Earth

The return of Hayabusa 2 to Earth is expected to be in November or December. Thus, it will coincide with the return of the descent capsule of the mission scheduled for the end of 2020 in Australia, where the recovery teams will collect samples for analysis in laboratories in Japan and the United States.