New Images from Hayabusa2’s Show Dark Marks Present on Its Landing Site

New Images from Hayabusa2’s Show Dark Marks Present on Its Landing Site

Science

Last week, Japan’s Hayabusa2 observatory softly landed on the surface of Ryugu asteroid. After blasting on the surface, the probe is hopefully collecting samples. A new image from the spacecraft shows a dark spot where it landed on the surface of Ryugu. It shows a particular mark on the asteroid where the methodology took place. The darkening could be a result of dust that bows upwards by the probe’s thrusters. Besides, it may be due to the bullet the spacecraft fired into the ground.

Although, the image also reveals the shadow of Hayabusa2, which it captured from 82 feet above the asteroid’s rough surface. According to the officials of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the color of the surface under the probe’s shadow varies from the surroundings. They say the place has been discolored due to the landing. So Japan’s mission to withdraw surface samples from Ryugu and take them back to Earth is going well. For a closer approach to the asteroid, the Hayabusa2 probe used an instrument called the sampler horn. It is a type of projector or a kind of gun. The observatory fired a 5-gram tantalum bullet into the surface of Ryugu. The bullet traveled at a speed of 300 meters per second. Researchers believe sample horn would have collected the material kicked up by the impact.

The craft gathered some of the ejected debris and made its way to space once again. The space agency says the image is further, visual verification that the touchdown worked according to plan. The mission landed in December 2014, arrived on Ryugu in June 2018. Hayabusa2 spacecraft split up in two rovers and a lander. It also has an additional and alternative hopper that may touch Ryugu’s surface in the future. The mission is left with two more sampling drives. Hayabusa2 will make the sampling trips in the upcoming months. According to Space.com, the first of the operation will be identical to the current finding. While in the second operation, the probe will hit the asteroid with a kinetic impactor. The impact will result in a crater that the observatory will then test for the ingredient compounds.

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