Hayabusa2 has landed! The Japanese Asteroid Probe Hayabusa2 has successfully landed on Asteroid Ryugu and harvested a sample from the rock. Yay!
Ryugu is circa 1km in diameter and is classified as a near-Earth object as its orbit brings it in proximity to Earth. The asteroid orbits the sun in the space between Earth and Mars and is at a distance of 95,400km at its closest approach. Near-Earth Objects are mapped and monitored by NASA’s NEO Centre 😉
“Hayabusa 2 will explore not only the origins of the planets but also the origin of the water of Earth’s oceans and the source of life.” JAXA
Launched by JAXA (the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) in December 2014 Hayabusa2 reached the asteroid in June 2018, eventually landing on 22 February, 2019 JST. Upon landing it fired a “bullet” into the surface of the asteroid and collected the resulting cloud of dust and debris stirred from the surface.
Asteroids are small rocky objects orbiting the sun. They come in all shapes and sizes and are left-over bits from the formation of the planets in our Solar System.
Any closer encounter with an object in the sky brings further understanding on the workings of the universe and could help shed light on how it came to be what it is. We eagerly await Hayabusa2’s arrival back on planet Earth with the sample in 2020 (planned), so not long now.
Image Credit: Jaxa
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I am the Sun, the Star at the heart of the Solar System. One of at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way.
I was formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago and I will burn and emit energy for at least another 5 billion years when I will start expanding and will become what is known as a Red Giant.
Planetary distances are measured in terms of Astronomical Units (AU) – that is the distance between me and the Earth. So you are at 1AU from the Sun while Neptune lies at 30AU from me.
Remember to hover over the egg to reveal the true colours of the Sun and tick the box in your Galactic Checklist.
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