Hayabusa2 probe leaves Ryugu asteroid, heads home

13 Novembre, 2019, 22:38 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Space pioneers Rovers put on an asteroid

As it slowly retreats from the asteroid it called home, Hayabusa2 has been snapping real-time photos of the asteroid as it departs and will continue this "Farewell Observation" until November 18. Instead, it will discard the samples once in the earth, where they're expected to land in the South Australian desert (JAXA is now negotiating with the Aussie government to iron out some important details, including permission to take the re-entry capsule in Woomera restricted area).

"We are finally leaving Ryugu!"

At around 10.05 am (Japanese time) on November 13, the probe will receive instructions from JAXA to leave the Ryugu system.

Japan's space agency said Wednesday its Hayabusa2 space probe had departed from an asteroid where it had landed to collect samples, and will now travel some 800 million kilometers to deliver them to Earth in November or December of next year. The mission is outwardly carrying samples from the house rock and the probe is anticipated to land again on earth by December 2020. Unlike its predecessor, the spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will not burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

"All of us are satisfied and have no complaints with what we accomplished", stated probe project manager Yuichi Tsuda.

As it left the asteroid, Hayabusa2 started traveling at 0.09 meters per second and will continue to capture images of the asteroid as it moves away. "Ryugu has been at the heart of our everyday life for the past year and a half".

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If organic matter is found in the samples, it could lead to a potential breakthrough for research into the creation of the solar system and life on Earth.

The probe is the successor to JAXA's first asteroid explorer "Hayabusa", which means falcon in Japanese.

Thankfully, the year-long journey home is much shorter than the 3.5 years it took for Hayabusa2 to reach the asteroid.

Hayabusa-2 is expected to drop the samples off in the South Australian desert, but JAXA is negotiating with the Australian government about how to arrange it, Tsuda said.

The earlier probe returned with dust samples from a smaller, potato-shaped asteroid in 2010 despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey, and was hailed as a scientific triumph.



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