Japan’s Hayabusa2 lands on asteroid Ryugu

earthsky.org | 2/22/2019 | Deborah Byrd
Click For Photo: https://en.es-static.us/upl/2019/02/hayabusa2-scientists-300x188.jpg

A live webcast showed Hayabusa2 scientists nervously monitoring the spacecraft’s February 22 touchdown on distant asteroid Ryugu.

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Hayabusa2 - Briefly - Ryugu - Friday - Bullet

Hayabusa2 touched down briefly on asteroid Ryugu on Friday and fired a bullet into the asteroid’s surface to puff up dust for sample collection. Then the spacecraft blasted back to its holding position in orbit around the asteroid, said officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). A February 22, 2019, statement from JAXA said:

[We] executed the asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 operation to touch down on the surface of the target asteroid Ryugu for sample retrieval.

Data - Analysis - Hayabusa2 - Sequence - Operation

Data analysis from Hayabusa2 confirms that the sequence of operation proceeded, including shooting a projectile into the asteroid to collect its sample material. The Hayabusa2 spacecraft is in nominal state [performing within acceptable limits]. This marks the Hayabusa2 successful touchdown on Ryugu.

A live webcast of the control room showed dozens of JAXA staff members nervously monitoring data ahead of the touchdown before exploding into applause after receiving a signal from Hayabusa2 that it had landed. Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager, told reporters:

Touchdown - Bullet - Ryugu - Asteroid - Touchdown

We made a successful touchdown, including firing a bullet [into the Ryugu asteroid]. We made the ideal touchdown in the best conditions.

Ryugu as seen by Hayabusa2 on June 26, 2018. Image via JAXA/University of Tokyo/Kochi University/Rikkyo University/Nagoya University/Chiba...
(Excerpt) Read more at: earthsky.org
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