Thursday , April 22 2021

New photos show surprisingly large crater explosive in asteroid Ryugu With Japan's Hayabusa2 probe

Earlier this month, the Hayabusa2 space ship used an explosive device to create an artificial asteroid Ryugu, but the investigation could not hold around to confirm the work for fear of being damaged by debris. The Japanese space agency has now confirmed the artificial crater – but that's not exactly what they expected.

Earlier today, while flying at an altitude of 1,700 meters above the altitude of Ryugu, the Hayabusa2 probe was using its Optical Navigation Camera (ONC-T) to confirm the presence of a surprisingly large artificial crater on the surface. Given the rocky composition of the area, scientists from JAXA expected something a bit smaller, so the exercise already tells us something new about this asteroid and how it is formed.

On April 5, 2019, Hayabusa2 used an explosive device for exploding a crater on the surface of Ryugu. The pictures taken from the investigation showed an explosive device, baseball sized, slowly climbing to the surface.

JAXA, fearing that the probe would be damaged by the remains that followed, it hid the probe behind the asteroid for about two weeks, while dust slowly settled in the low gravitational environment. However, with Hayabusa2 in a malicious manner, JAXA could not confirm the presence of an artificial crater or its size.

To prove that Hayabusa2 had completed the work, JAXA investigated the investigation over the site from April 23 to April 25. The images collected from the investigation allowed the space agency to finally verify the hole. It is "determined that the collision unit has created a crater," JAXA said in a press release. With the crater now certified, Hayabusa2 is now back in its home position, about 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) above the surface.

"The creation of an artificial impact crater and detailed monitoring of this is the first attempt in the world," said Project Leader Hayabusa2, Yuiki Tuda, while talking to reporters earlier today, according to AFP. "This is a great success".

NASA's Deep Impact exploded artificial crater on Comet Tempel 1 on 4 July 2005. The difference in this case is that Hayabusa2 will now try to extract materials from this new crater, while Deep Impact could only conduct observations.

The Hayabusa2 explosive device was to pull the material from deeper into the asteroid, which would provide new insights into the formation of asteroids and other celestial objects in the solar system. Earlier in the mission, the investigation took material from the very top of the surface of the asteroid. The probe is expected to return to Earth with its own samples – both from the surface and underground – at the end of 2020.

They went to the mission, and after assessing the target area on the surface, scientists from JAXA expected an artificial crater between 2 and 3 meters. However, unexpectedly, the new crater appears to be about 10 meters (almost 10.06m) forwards, with a total impact area of ​​about 20 meters wide. As noted in the AFP report, it was expected to create a loose, sandy surface to create a crater of that larger size, but the target region was rocky and full of stones.

"The exact size and shape of the formed artificial crater will be thoroughly examined, but it can be seen that the topography of the area around 20 [meters] broad changes, "JAXA noted tweet.

"It was not assumed that such a big change would occur, so there was a lively debate in the project. It looks like we expect new achievements in planetary science."

Masahiko Arakawa, a professor at the Kobe University who works on the project, said "the surface is filled with stones, but we have created a huge crater," AFP reported. "This may mean that there is a scientific mechanism that we do not know or anything special about the materials of Riugu."

JAXA will continue to study photos collected by Hayabsua2 over the past few days to find out more about the new crater and direct their estimates. After this, the space agency will direct the investigation to collect material from the crater, in what will undoubtedly be a very delicate and precise operation – but possibly it can be relieved given the unexpected size of the hole.

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