Let's shoot the ball on the asteroid. This may sound like a plot of science fiction show, but it will become a reality when the Japanese space agency JAXA manages its spacecraft Hayabusa 2 to capture the specimen of the asteroid.
Hayabusa 2 arrived at the Ryugu asteroid in mid-201
from last fall after discovering that Ryugu's surface was much more complicated than expected. The new sampling time is set on the 22nd of February at 8:00 pm Japanese time, which operates until Thursday, February 21 at 15:00. Pacific in the USA.
JAXA will be broadcast live On air, his control room with English translation is available.
The cylindrical sampler of the spacecraft is designed to touch the surface of the asteroid, release the bullet into the rock, and then collect fragments thrown by the blow. The Hayabusa 2 team conducted an experiment on Earth to find out if the sampler can work with Rubo's gravel surface. The test included a dropped projectile on the simulation surface to simulate an asteroid. According to the results, the spacecraft system should work normally.
Landing is still a daring operation. The spacecraft will have to avoid boulders, but still close enough to reach the surface. If everything succeeds, Hayabusa 2 will return to Earth at the end of 2020 with a bit of an asteroid aboard for scientists to study.