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Japanese scientists have succeeded in creating what they called the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid, a step towards shedding light on how the solar system evolved, the country's space agency said Thursday.
The announcement comes after the Hayabusa2 probe fired an explosive device at the Ryugu asteroid early this month to blast a crater in the surface and scoop up material, aiming to reveal more about the origins of life on Earth.
Yuichi - Tsuda - Hayabusa2 - Project - Manager
Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager at the Japanese space agency (JAXA), told reporters they confirmed the crater from images captured by the probe located 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) from the asteroid's surface.
"Creating an artificial crater with an impactor and observing it in detail afterwards is a world-first attempt," Tsuda said.
"This is a big success."
NASA's Deep Impact probe succeeded in creating an artificial crater on a comet in 2005, but only for observation purposes.
Masahiko - Arakawa - Kobe - University - Professor
Masahiko Arakawa, a Kobe University professor involved in the project, said it was "the best day of his life".
"We can see such a big hole a lot more clearly than expected," he said, adding the images showed a crater 10 metres in diameter.
JAXA - Scientists - Crater
JAXA scientists had previously predicted that the crater...
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