Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 successfully landed on the surface of the Ryugu asteroid, a historical moment in the development of space, which could provide exciting details about the origins of life on Earth.
At 7:49 am local time in Japan a spacecraft touched down the Ryu, descended from a stable orbit about 20 kilometers above the surface. The distance from the Earth at a distance of about 310 million kilometers – because even the speed at light speed is too slow for real-time control – the entire descent was automated and lasted about 23 hours. As he was slightly in contact with the surface, the spacecraft Hayabusa 2 should have a closing speed of just seven centimeters per second. If everything went according to the plan, then the length of the selective weapon in length of one meter successfully released the bullet-shaped projectile to the surface, resulting in a sample capsule will be collected to 0.1
The spacecraft took images before, during and after the sampling, which would be the only way to find out if this mechanism was successful. Leaving the surface, Hayabusa 2 took about half a day to return to its home position above the asteroid. "It's really interesting because it's the first time in history that we [may have] received a sample of a carbon asteroid," says Patrick Michel of the Côte d'Azur Observatory in France, co-investigator of the mission. 19659004] Ryugu Asteroid is photographed by ONC-T, which is equipped with a Hayabusa2 probe, in an outer space 280 million kilometers from Earth, June 24, 2018. Photo: JAXA-Tokyo University / Distribution through REUTERS "width =" 1024 "height =" 700 "class =" size-large wp-image-255943 "srcset =" https://d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/static/2018 /06/Hayabusu_RTS1TYJH_horizontal.jpg 1024w, https://d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/static/2018/06/Hayabusu_RTS1TYJH_horizontal-300×205.jpg 300w, https://d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/static/2018/06/Hayabusu_RTS1TYJH_horizontal-768×525 .jpg 768w, https://d3i6fh83elv35t.cloudfront.net/static/2018/06/Hayabusu_RTS1TYJH_horizontal-425×291.jpg 425w "sizes =" (max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px "/>
Hayabusa 2 was launched in December 2014 by the Japan Aerospace Research Agency (JAXA). in June 2016, Ryu, a primitive C-type (carbon) asteroid. Ryu is hardly a kilometer, but it is believed that it contains a huge scientific treasure: the original material left from the original solar system 4.6 billion years ago, the era that preceded the merging of the sunshine of the planets. To study this rock-rich rock, Hayabusa 2 has already created global maps of its orbital perch, and has also sent three small rovers to the surface at the end of 2018. The fourth rover will be deployed later this year. But the main mission of the mission was always to directly collect samples from the surface using similar equipment that was originally deployed on the mission of its predecessor, Hayabusa 1. The only previous mission, the Asteroid Returns, Hayabusa 1, turned S-type dust ( [pic] or the camera's Itokawa asteroid in June 2010, a less-pure subject, thought to have been formed much later than Ryugu in the history of the solar system.
The Hayabusa 1 sampling mechanism did not work as planned, however, the projectile did not fire on the surface, although the engines of the spacecraft dusted the collector. Scientists and engineers from Hayabusa 2 hope that they have solved any problems this time – if it worked successfully, then the gain could be enormous. "This time we believe we can get organic matter," says Makoto Yosikava, head of the mission "Hayabusa 2" JAXA, with reference to carbon compounds, which, together with water and sunshine, are the fundamental foundation of life on Earth. "In the case of Hayabusa 1 in Itokawa, we did not find any organic matter. But this time on the Ryro Asteroid, we believe that we can get organic matter and water in the sample. So this is our main goal. "
After the spacecraft arrived on the asteroid, the team began to study the image to find the appropriate landing point to collect the sample. It quickly became apparent that the material on the surface was not as thin as expected, instead of being composed of streamlined rocks and boulders that could easily abandon attempts to collect samples. Thus, in order to increase the chances of success, the spacecraft lowered the target markers on Ryugu in October 2018 – thin sheets of reflective material served as mirrors for rangefinders, which can accurately measure the distance to the surface
. it is !!! # haya2_TD
Thank you very much for your support from all over the world! pic.twitter.com/cHkeTCBgcs
– HAYABUSA2 @ JAXA (@ haya2e_jaxa) February 22, 2019
The initial plan envisaged three separate plantings and sample collections, returning material from different places . However, disturbance across the rugged area means that perhaps another landing will be made, which will be even more ambitious. Not until April, a spacecraft will shoot in a weight impact that weighs one kilogram to the surface, at a speed of two kilometers per second, by excavating a small crater at a distance of two to three meters. Then the team will decide whether to go down and try to collect a sample from this crater, taking away the material from the asteroid itself – something that has never been done before.
NASA scientists take part in OSIRIS-REx, another example of an asteroid-By reengageing efforts that occur accidentally at the same time, we will observe the work of Hayabusa 2 in Ryugu with breathlessness. The mission of OSRIS-Rex is to collect up to two pounds of material from the asteroid Bennu, as well as an asteroid of type C, at the end of 2020. Strong cooperation between Japan and the United States has led to the exchange of information between the two teams, and the OSIRIS-REx team learns of priceless data on landing attempts at Hayabusa 2. "We are very interested in what happens when they try to sample," said Dante Lawright, Chief researcher OSIRIS-REx and co-investigator from Hayabusa 2. "We are about to create a meeting [with JAXA] to go
Looking back in time with data from remote sensing and direct samples collected by these spacecraft, researchers hope to find out how asteroids – and maybe , and comets – were the first to sow the Earth with water and other key ingredients for life. If and when the pristine specimens of these primary asteroids return, the global teams of scientists will search them for organic materials such as amino acids, which can give new foundations to ours. composition of samples, we will also accurately determine how old each asteroid has, strengthening the chronology of the formation of our solar system. "We want to check whether these bodies have organic material," Michel says, "and to analyze this material to understand the role of asteroids in the onset of life on Earth. One of the scenarios may be that all elements necessary for the onset of life, including water and possibly other prebiotic materials, have been brought by these small bodies. "
Hayabusa 2 intends to depart from Ryugu at the end of 2019, and in late 2020 it will arrive on Earth, dropping its capsule filled with precious cargo from the dawn of the solar system. Together with OSIRIS REX, this fearless interplanetary mission can simply tell us more about the origins of our world than ever before.
This article is reproduced with the permission of Scientific American. The original story can be viewed here.