The spacecraft Hayabusa2’s first touchdown onto the asteroid Ryugu is booked during the current week. On the off chance that successful, the craft will shoot a bullet into the rock so as to catch samples to take back to Earth.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is amidst planning for the probe’s touchdown, and has reproduced the asteroid and bullet here on Earth so as to work on, as indicated by a press release. This followed a delay to the arranged touchdown, after researchers understood that the asteroid’s creation contrasted from their desires.
Japanese researchers expected to locate a “powdery regolith” on the asteroid, as per the release. In any case, when the MASCOT and MINERVA-II1 wanderers dropped by Hayabusa2 prowled the surface, they found that it was really shrouded in centimeter-sized gravel bits. The group postponed the probe’s touchdown so as to guarantee that their accumulation mechanism would even now take a shot at the bigger grit.
The scientists’ tests included shooting a similar 5-gram bullet produced using the element tantalum into a pile of gravel in a vacuum chamber at 300 meters for each second. Luckily, these tests uncovered that the bullet would separate and release enough material of the correct size for Hayabusa2 to accumulate samples.
The JAXA release takes note of that the group played out the tests under Earth gravity, and that considerably more rock would be released in the microgravity states of the asteroid.
Hayabusa2 propelled in 2014 to meet with and gather tests samples the asteroid Ryugu. It succeeds the troubled, but ultimately successful Hayabusa mission, and joins NASA’s OSIRIS-REx as one of two missions at present investigating asteroids up-close.
On the off chance that successful, Hayabusa2 will take three samples from Ryugu’s surface and return them in a capsule to Earth in December 2020.