Japanese spacecraft for the second time sat on the asteroid Ryugu

In 2014, the Japanese space Agency JAXA launched into the sky with apparatus called “Hayabusa-2”. He was sent to the so-called asteroid Ryugu, examining the surface of which scientists want to know how life appeared on Earth. The unit flew to the asteroid in 2018, and recently successfully descended to the surface. He has been collecting asteroid soil and for subsequent submission to the Ground — after studying them in the laboratory, scientists hope to find particles of the soil since the emergence of the Universe, which will reveal the secret of the origin of life.

Fit made scientists nervous — system risks to break, but July 11, everything went very well. He sank down on the surface of a space object from a height of 20 kilometers with a speed of 10 centimeters per second. The landing site was the area with 7m radius — scientists have stopped the choice on it, because there are no large rocks which could damage the unit.

Also, this place is famous because is just 20 metres from the grooves, which was formed in April 2019, after the machine is dumped on the surface of an asteroid of a special explosive device. During the explosion, the surface was thrown to the ground from the depths of the asteroid — it was his collection and is engaged in the machine at the moment.

The researchers hope that the samples of the soil in which lies the secret of the Universe, are found in the inner part of the asteroid. Previously, the unit was already down on the surface of a space object — it happened in February 2019, but then the “Hayabusa-2” has collected only surface samples. Perhaps before sending samples to Earth, the machine will make another landing on the surface of the asteroid.

The first landing

The first landing, as mentioned above, was carried out in February. Then the unit had to demonstrate even greater accuracy, because the radius of the landing site was 6 meters. Scientists are unable to control the movements of the machine manually, because it is at a distance of 340 million kilometers from Earth, and the signals reach him for a very long time. In order to successfully land on the surface, the apparatus previously left her reflecting sunlight light — looking at him he knew what point he needs to go down.

This time the landing was also carried out in automatic mode. Camera still focused on the light beacon — he threw it to the surface only the second time, because during the first attempt failed.

New photos surface Ryugu

As we study asteroids?

It is noteworthy that the Japanese Agency has been studying the surfaces of asteroids is not the first time. The first version of the machine “Hayabusa” worked from 2003 to 2010, and collected soil samples from an asteroid called Itokawa. They were delivered to Earth inside a special capsule, and it fell in Australia, while the unit itself was burned on the sky.

The asteroid Itokawa (left) and Ryuga (right)

All apparatus was collected 1500 microscopic grains, the study of which scientists were working for as much as five months. In the end they managed to figure out that once the asteroid has been heated up to 800 degrees Celsius to achieve such a temperature, the diameter of the object must reach 20 kilometers. Scientists have concluded that the asteroid Itokawa is nothing but a fragment of another, even larger cosmic object.

Recommend to read: 10 places in the Universe where we are likely to find life

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