Officials said the capsules released by the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft landed as planned in remote areas of southern Australia, bringing back samples of asteroids that could explain the origin of life on Earth.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said the Hayabusa2 aircraft successfully released a small capsule on Saturday and sent it to Earth to deliver samples from a distant asteroid named Ryugu.
The capsule temporarily turned into a fireball when it re-entered the atmosphere 75 miles above Earth. Approximately 6 miles above the ground, a parachute was scheduled to open to delay the fall, and a beacon signal indicating the position of the capsule was sent.
As the aircraft enters the Earth’s atmosphere, fireballs streak across the sky around 5:28 pm on Saturday. This is Sunday at Central Daylight Time (ACDT) at 3:00 am.
Published by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), this computer graphics image shows the Hayabusa2 spacecraft on the asteroid Ryugu.
Members of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) will be seen during a media tour of the new Range Operations Center in Woomera Test Range prior to the Hayabusa2 Return Mission in Woomera, South Australia on Saturday.
Timeline: What happened in the six years from launch to landing?
December 3, 2014: Released
December 3, 2015: Earth Flyby
June 27, 2018: Arrive at asteroid Ryugu
September 21, 2018: Deployment of two Minerva II1 rover on an asteroid
October 3, 2018: Deployment of MASCOT lander on asteroid
October 14, 2018: Asteroid Touchdown Rehearsal Begins
Early 2019: Touchdown for impactor deployment and subsequent sample collection
July 2019: Deployment of the remaining rover
November-December 2019: Spacecraft Departs Asteroid
December 2020: Hayabusa2 brings asteroid samples to Earth
Akitaka Kishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said these signals were detected, suggesting that the capsule had safely landed in a remote remote area of Woomera, Australia.
He said the Jaxa staff will conduct an aerial search for capsules by helicopter.
After sunrise, the collection of pot-shaped capsules about 15 inches in diameter will begin.
Hayabusa2 left the asteroid Ryugu, about 180 million miles away, a year ago. After Kraft released the capsule, it left Earth to capture an image of the capsule descending towards the planet as it embarked on a new expedition to another distant asteroid.
The capsule descended from space 136,700 miles away after being separated from Hayabusa2 in a difficult operation that required precise control.
Jaxa staff has begun work to find the capsule. Capsules are described by “treasure chests” and some commentators.
Authorities said they hope to collect the capsules by Sunday night and bring them back to Japan early next week before preliminary safety inspections at an Australian laboratory.
Dozens of Jaxa staff are working in Woomera in preparation for the return of samples.
They installed satellite dishes in several locations in the target area within the Royal Australian Air Force test field to receive signals.
They use marine radar, drones and helicopters to assist in the search and recovery of capsules.
Trevor Ireland, a space-rock expert at the Australian National University in Woomera for the arrival of capsules, said a sample of Ryugu resembles a meteorite that fell in Australia near Murchison, Victoria more than 50 years ago. He said he expected.
He states: ‘Murchison meteorites have opened the window for the origin of organic matter on Earth because these rocks were found to contain simple amino acids and abundant water.
“Investigate whether Ryugu is a potential source of organic matter and water on Earth when the solar system was formed, and whether they remain intact on asteroids.”
Scientists say they believe that samples, especially those taken from below the surface of an asteroid, contain valuable data that is unaffected by cosmic radiation and other environmental factors.
They are particularly interested in the analysis of organic matter in samples.
Jaxa wants to find clues about how matter is distributed in the solar system and how it relates to life on Earth.
The mission manager said that only 0.1 grams of dust was sufficient to carry out all planned studies.
For Hayabusa2, this is not the end of the mission that started in 2014. We are currently heading to the small asteroid 1998 KY26, which will take 10 years (one way), to find ways to prevent meteorite impacts. Earth.
So far, that mission has been completely successful. Despite the very rocky surface of the asteroid, the ship landed on Ryugu twice and successfully collected data and samples for 18 months after arriving at Ryugu in June 2018.
The first touchdown in February 2019 collected surface dust samples.
In a more challenging mission in July of that year, Hayabusa2 collected underground samples from the asteroid for the first time in space history after landing on a previously created crater by blasting the surface of the asteroid.
Asteroids orbit the Sun, but because they are much smaller than planets, they are one of the oldest objects in the solar system and can help explain how the Earth evolved.
Ryugu means “Ryugu”, the name of a castle on the seabed in traditional folk tales.
Hayabusa2 will begin its second 10-year mission to rendezvous with a much smaller asteroid known as the 1998 KY26 in July 2031 after releasing valuable cargo.
Hayabusa2 was launched by the H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima in 2014, and returned to Earth last year using an ion engine.
Astronomer Brad Tucker said technological advances have allowed space missions to regularly land on objects in space and return to Earth.
Just this week, China successfully landed a spacecraft on the surface of the Moon with the Chang’e 5 spacecraft and collected 2 kilograms of lunar material to help scientists learn more about the origin of the moon.
Hayabusa2 spacecraft and asteroid Ryugu rendezvous art illustration
The mission visited a previously unexplored area known as Oceanus Procellarum or “Ocean of Storms”.
Dr. Tucker said such a mission allowed scientists to “dirt our hands and learn a lot about the solar system and our own planets.”
“Future space travel and exploration missions will need to be able to extract space resources,” he said.
“A mission like Hayabusa2 lays the foundation for this effort.”
Hayabusa2 returns to Earth FIREBALL illuminates the Australian sky on Sunday morning
Source link Hayabusa2 returns to Earth FIREBALL illuminates the Australian sky on Sunday morning