The Japanese aerospace exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced the final selection of seats for the asteroid in the mission “Hayabusa-2”. We will remind that onboard the main unit there are four descent modules: unit three MINERVA II as well as the MASCOT lander developed by the German aerospace center (DLR). The main task was launched in December 2014 a research probe “Hayabusa-2” is to collect and deliver to Earth samples of a ground from the 900-foot asteroid Ryugu.
According to researchers, soil Ryugu may contain water and organic molecules – the building blocks that gave rise to life on our planet. Japanese spacecraft reached the goal of his research at the end of June, and then began a long process of braking and rendezvous with the asteroid. At the moment, “Hayabusa-2” is in orbit just a few kilometers from the surface of the cosmic body.
Collection of soil samples of the asteroid will not be made with the lander and Rovers, and with the help of the probe “Hayabusa-2”, directly from the orbit Ryugu. The device is equipped with an explosive charge, which he fired into the surface of the object. The explosion will lift into space the particles of the soil of the asteroid. If all goes well, astronomers expect the probe will bring back samples to Earth by the end of 2020, dropping them inside a special capsule.
To select the most appropriate landing site lander MASCOT Agency JAXA have collected the whole conference. Astronomers chose ten candidates, which could land MASCOT. As the primary option was the selected area MA-9, located in the southern hemisphere, Rugo.
“The choice of location for the landing was very heavy task. On the other hand, we can now say we found the perfect place. This point, MA-9 was the main candidate to win the competition since its inception,” said Ralph Jaumann from the German aerospace center (DLR), head of project MASCOT.
There are “almost earth” conditions – the temperature of day and night varies from 47 to -63 degrees Celsius, which will significantly extend the life of the battery module. In addition, scientists have not found here any areas, where always reigns the shadow or the light. The bitter experience with the landing module Philae landing on the comet surface Churyumov-Gerasimenko has forced astronomers, a more thorough approach to the selection of the right place.
From a scientific point of view, the area MA-9 interesting to planetary scientists that there is a large number of large and small stones, convenient for chemical analysis, as well as several areas of naked recently and have not been subjected to cosmic rays and solar wind.
MASCOT is equipped with a spectrometer, a magnetometer, a radiometer and a camera to collect scientific data. In addition, the device has a motor with a displaced center of gravity, the rotation of which allows the probe to jump on the surface of the asteroid.
In addition to the landing module MASCOT Agency JAXA has determined the landing site of the Rover MINERVA-II, and also the place where will be soil sampling with a probe “Hayabusa-2”. The probe will move closer to the surface of Ryugu in the location L07, located in the region of the equator. As reserve areas scientists have chosen the point of L08 and M04, located near the main. For the landing of the Rover MINERVA-II scientists chose the N6 area, in the Northern part of the asteroid.
According to JAXA, “Hayabusa-2” closer to the asteroid to collect soil samples on September 12. Re-convergence is scheduled for mid-October. The Rover is scheduled to land on September 20-21. The landing of the lander MASCOT is scheduled for October 3, 2018. Dates of landings can still change, noted the Agency.