Hayabusa 2 Probe Brings Back Samples From Ryugu Asteroid!
That’s how Hayabusa 2 mission worked: the main objective of the mission was to collect samples of the asteroid’s surface to be brought back to Earth for analysis in the laboratory.
Follow me on this journey to get to know more about JAXA’s Hayabusa mission: we will take you on the Ryugu asteroid to fire a projectile on it, retrieve samples and then go back to Earth.
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When the probe left planet Earth, it spent a few years using its ion engine which doesn’t have a lot of power, but is extremely efficient in terms of fuel, to try to catch up with the asteroid known as “Ryugu”, and what’s really incredible is that for this part of the mission the probe only used up about to 30 kg its fuel xenon. That’s how efficient these ion engines were.
But how can you possibly remove the surface of an asteroid and try to reach within it?
You could try to dig through it.
And here’s where problems start to show up.
In fact, the gravity of the asteroid is pretty low, and that’s why this is actually a very challenging task.
But Hayabusa 2 decided not to dig: the probe contained an impactor on the inside.
So how did they do?
Around 10 years ago they collaborated with Australian space agency and asked them to use the so-called “Woomera” test range located in Australia that, as you can imagine, requires special permission to be used.
How did it go?
The capsule decelerated from around 11 kilometres per second down to only a few hundred meters per second, so basically, all of this only took approximately two or three seconds.
This is extremely extremely fast.
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