Japan probe Hayabusa2 makes asteroid landing
Published: 01:19 PM, 22 February 2019
A Japanese probe sent to examine an asteroid 300 million kilometres from the Earth for clues about the origin of life and the solar system landed successfully on Friday, scientists said.
Data from the probe, Hayabusa2, showed changes in speed and direction, indicating it had touched down on the asteroid and was blasting back to its orbiting position, according to officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
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 the probe, Hayabusa2, that it had landed.
“We confirmed the touchdown,” JAXA spokeswoman Chisato Ikuta told AFP.
Ikuta said the control centre had “received data that shows that the probe is working normally and is healthy.”
Scientists are continuing to gather and analyse data from the probe, she said.
The probe was due to fire a bullet at the Ryugu asteroid, to stir up surface matter, which the probe will then collect for analysis back on Earth.
The asteroid is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born.
Hayabusa2 will eventually fire an “impactor” to blast out material from underneath Ryugu’s surface, allowing the collection of “fresh” materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation.
Scientists hope those samples may provide answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth.
After the landing, the probe was to return to its orbit above Ryugu, with further touchdowns planned for later in the year.
– Spinning-top shape –
Communication with Hayabusa2 is cut off at times because its antennas are not always pointed towards Earth and it could take several more days to confirm the bullet was actually fired to allow the collection of samples.
The mission has not been completely plain sailing and the probe’s landing was originally scheduled for last year.
But it was pushed back after surveys found the asteroid’s surface was more rugged than initially thought, forcing JAXA to take more time to find a suitable landing site.
The Hayabusa2 mission, with a price tag of around 30 billion yen ($270 million), was launched in December 2014 and is scheduled to return to Earth with its samples in 2020.
Photos of Ryugu — which means “Dragon Palace” in Japanese and refers to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale — show an asteroid shaped a bit like a spinning top with a rough surface.
Hayabusa2 observes the surface of the asteroid with its camera and sensing equipment but has also dispatched two tiny MINERVA-II rover robots as well as the French-German robot MASCOT to help surface observation.
Scientists are already receiving data from these probes deployed on the surface of the asteroid.
The 10-kilogramme (22-pound) observation robot MASCOT is loaded with sensors and can take images at multiple wavelengths, investigate minerals with a microscope, gauge surface temperatures and measure magnetic fields.
At about the size of a large fridge, Hayabusa2 is equipped with solar panels and is the successor to JAXA’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa — Japanese for falcon.
That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year Odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph.
- 5828 multimedia classrooms installed in Rajshahi
- Traffic sergeant’s father files writ for compensation
- Minni’s bail hearing Jul 30
- Three father of a newborn baby!
- Shokh to play Minni’s role in Eid
- Habits that extremely harmful for liver
- Rain likely to increase, temperature may fall
- Advance train tickets to be sold at 5 spots
- Fire breaks out at CMCH Psychiatry department
- 25 schoolgirls fall sick from laughing too much
- ‘Lion King’ roars as surpassing ‘Avengers’ record
- Ronaldo will not face rape charges
- Critical security flaw found in VLC Player
- Two robbers killed in Sundarbans gunfight
- Large-scale government data hacks in Russia, Bulgaria
- Mehazabien with new story
- Shinzo Abe wins Japan’s upper house poll
- National Public Service Day-2019 today
- Renu lynched in Badda: 2 more held
- Drug peddler killed in Meherpur gunfight
- Suspended ACC director Basir held
- Bangladesh to play warm-up match today
- ‘Child lifters’ rumor: innocence loses life
- Chandrayaan-2: India launches second Moon mission
- WHO to work with DSCC in combating dengue
- Bangladesh U-19 beat England U-19
- No cattle hat blocking roads: DMP Commissioner
- Books in hand, fear in mind
- BHBCUC suspends Priya Saha
- Farmers passing busy days in cattle fattening
- All News »
- Priya’s allegation is not correct: US Ambassador
- Child’s head in bag, youth lynched in Netrokona
- ‘Lady Killer’ Tisha to fight against formalin in food
- Priya falsify to Trump about Bangladesh
- Woman lynched over child-lifting rumour: 500 sued
- HSC exam results tomorrow
- Rifat murder: Minni at Police Line for questioning
- Renu lynched in Badda, 3 held
- Police want 10-day remand of Minni
- Rifat killing mastermind Minni; says police
- 8 boards attain 71.85 pc pass rate
- Stocks maintain positive trend
- None took ‘liability of denying legal support’ to Minni
- How to get HSC result
- Minni sent to jail
- HSC pass rate increases 7.9 pc
- Edu Minister`s husband Toufiq Nawaz severely ill
- Put Myanmar for Rohingya return; FM urges US
- Court dismisses Minni’s two petitions
- Bangladesh to play warm-up match today
- PM to inaugurate ‘Benapole Express’ Wednesday
- Country’s 7th mobile assembling plant to be launched with FDI
- Minni on 5-day remand
- Ershad’s body in Rangpur
- Ershad’s namaz-e-janaza held in Rangpur
- Man accused in 14 cases killed in gunfight
- Google shuts down AdSense on Android, iOS for web
- Another hit of Gully Boy!
- DIG Mizan shown arrested in bribery case
- Humanity for animal !