Japanese spacecraft fired cannonball into asteroid


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 spacecraft fired a copper cannonball into Ryugu, an 850 meter-wide near-Earth asteroid. The 2 kilogram “Small Carry-on Impactor,” a bit larger than a tennis ball, hit the asteroid at approximately 7,200 kilometers/hour and blew out a 14.5 meter wide crater with a depth of .6 meters. After a year of analysis, scientists have reported their analysis of the plume created by the impact and properties of the crater. From Space.com:

The number and size of craters that pockmark asteroids such as Ryugu can help scientists estimate the age and properties of asteroid surfaces. These analyses are based on models of how such craters form, and data from artificial impacts like that on Ryugu can help test those models…

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Water found in samples from the surface of an asteroid


The Japanese space probe Hayabusa completed a sample return mission from the asteroid Itokawa.

(CNN) — Scientists have made the first measurements of water in samples collected from the surface of an asteroid, according to a new study.

The Japanese space probe Hayabusa completed a sample return mission from the asteroid Itokawa, retrieving 1,500 particles. Another mission, Hayabusa2, is conducting a sample return mission on the asteroid Ryugu.

A study detailing the analysis of five of the particles from the asteroid samples was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances. The samples were collected from an area on Itokawa known as the Muses Sea, which is smooth and dusty.

“We found the samples we examined were enriched in water compared to the average for inner solar system objects,” said Ziliang Jin, lead study author and postdoctoral scholar in Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, in a statement.

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Japanese spacecraft ‘bombs’ asteroid in scientific mission

C43E467D-F963-439E-87DB-DCBE07A6BA4CArtist’s impression of Hayabusa2

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is working to confirm that its experiment to bomb the asteroid Ryugu was successful. Today at 11:36 am Japan time, JAXA’s unmanned Hayabusa2 deep space probe deployed the SCI (Small Carry-on Impactor), which is designed to blow a hole in the surface of Ryugu to allow for deep sampling, but safety issues prevented the spacecraft from witnessing the detonation directly.

Shooting explosives at an asteroid may seem like a great way to break the monotony of a dull afternoon, but it has a very serious purpose. Aside from pure science, the world’s space agencies are very interested in gaining as much information as possible about the structure and composition of asteroids because it may one day be necessary to deflect or destroy one that is on a collision course with Earth.

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Japan just bombed an asteroid in our solar system, for science


Japan’s space agency said it successfully dropped a small bomb on an asteroid on Friday as part of its mission to better understand the history of the Solar System.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said its Hayabusa2 spacecraft detonated the copper explosive, also known as the Small Carry-on Inspector (SCI), on the Ryugu asteroid on Friday.

The SCI weighs about 2 kg (4.4 lbs) and is the size of a baseball, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

Hayabusa2 released the SCI about 500 meters (1,640 feet) above Ryugu’s surface around 11:13 am Japanese time (02:13 UTC) on Friday, JAXA tweeted.

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Japan just became the first country to deploy rovers on an asteroid


The Hayabusa 2 mission is visiting an asteroid 200 million miles from Earth to collect samples. The mission profile involves a lot of robots, bullets, and explosives.

In 2014, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft on a four year journey to Ryugu, an asteroid nearly 200 million miles from Earth. The spacecraft has been in orbit around the asteroid since June and early Friday morning dispatched two rovers to the asteroid’s surface.

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