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Astronomy

Japanese Hayabusa 2 Returns with a Precious Asteroid Cargo

The spacecraft of the Japanese Space Exploration Agency Hayabusa2 will return on December 6, 2020 with a sample from the asteroid Ryugu. The rare and invaluable sample capsule collected from this carbon asteroid Ryugu will be sent to Earth and Hayabusa2 will continue to sample more asteroids.

After 6 years and approximately 5.24 billion km of space travel, 100 mg of sample successfully collected by Hayabusa2 will reach Earth. While the elliptical orbit of the Ryugu asteroid, officially known as 1999 JU3, is inside Earth’s orbital path around the Sun, it is located almost outside the orbit of Mars.

Planning the journey of Hayabusa2; It includes calculating where the asteroid will be in the future and drawing a path that will get the spacecraft to where it needs to go, and using Earth’s gravity for acceleration jumps.

Will Send Hayabusa-2 Sample Capsule to Earth and Continue on its Way

What is really spectacular is that it will continue the same spacecraft and land on other asteroids. So when it approaches Earth, it will launch the sample capsule and then set off again.

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The spaceship is already on the way, and the capsule collecting team has arrived in Australia. The first Team members completed their 2-week COVID-19 quarantine. They did capsule taking rehearsal and capsule tracking rehearsals.

This small cargo is really important because the asteroid Itokawa was sampled in JAXA’s original Hayabusa mission, but only a few micrograms of samples reached Earth. Because the sampling device is broken.

100 mg may seem like a small amount to you, but scientifically even so many samples are incredibly valuable. Because Ryugu is a primitive carbon asteroid, it contains material from the early solar system. It is thought to be preserved intact for about 4.5 billion years. Scientists will thus be able to shed light on the internal formation and evolution of the Solar System and rocky planets.

The capsule will enter the Earth’s atmosphere on December 6 and turn into a fireball. However, since the capsule holds up to 3000 0 C, it is thought that it will descend without any problems. The capsule will open a parachute and land in the 100 km 2 Woomera Protection Area. The spacecraft Hayabusa 2, which sent the capsule, will continue on its way and meet 2001 CC21 in July 2026 (98943) and then the 1998 KY26 asteroid in July 2031.

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The researchers will take the capsule by helicopter, take a sample if there is any gas in the capsule, then put it in a sealed box and return to Japan by container.

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