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Showing posts from July, 2019

24 Hours in Kumamoto, Japan [Journey Across Japan Spinoff]

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A Japanese spacecraft just grabbed more rocks from the asteroid Ryugu

Hayabusa2   has   collected a second sample   from the asteroid's surface that could give us an insight into how the early solar system was formed. The procedure:  After a few hours of maneuvering, the spacecraft touched down on Ryugu’s surface at 9.15pm EDT yesterday. It then fired a bullet into the asteroid and collected some of the debris stirred up by the shot. Next steps:  Hayabusa2 is scheduled to depart for Earth at the end of this year, but before it does it has a final task: deploying a smaller rover called MINERVA-II2 later this summer. Its primary goal will be to explore in an environment where there is very little gravity. Long game:  Ancient asteroids like Ryugu provide clues about the formation of the early solar system ( including our own planet,)  which makes the samples Hayabusa2 has collected so important. Labs on Earth will be able to start analyzing its cargo once it finally arrives home towards the end of 2020.