Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft will quickly begin its journey to a carbon-wealthy asteroid
On November thirtieth, Japan’s Hayabusa 2 might be leaving leaving Earth aboard a Mitsubishi-made rocket to make its strategy to an asteroid — however to not blow it up. The Japanese spacecraft will comply with in its predecessor’s footsteps and observing an area rock for science (in fact). However in contrast to the primary Hayabusa that explored an asteroid wealthy in silicate and nickel-iron, this one’s headed for one which’s product of clay and rocks: supplies that would include natural matter and water. The unmanned car will traverse outer area for greater than three years till it finds asteroid “1999 JU3,” which it is scheduled to succeed in by June 2018.
After it rendezvous with the celestial physique, the car will launch a lander referred to as MASCOT and a rover referred to as MINERVA 2 on its floor. That rover can be in command of assessing the terrain and discovering one of the best places the place Hayabusa 2 can acquire samples by performing a collection of perch-gather-and-go maneuvers. It is solely close to the top of its 18-month mission that the car will deploy an ominous-sounding gear referred to as the “impactor,” which can create a crater the place the spacecraft can acquire subsurface materials.
If all goes nicely, Hayabusa 2 will begin its journey again house in December 2019 and contact down a yr later, carrying a wealth of samples with it. 1999 JU3, by the best way, belongs to a kind of asteroids thought-about as a few of the oldest objects in our photo voltaic system. JAXA’s scientists are hoping that the supplies taken from it may well present clues on the place our water got here from and the way life on Earth started.
[Picture credit score: JAXA]