The Jabusa 2 spacecraft from Jabusa 2 and its team opposed the bitter goodbye to the asteroid Rigu, 180 million miles from Earth, and launched a months-long return to Earth with a precious set of specimens.
"This is an emotional moment!" the team tweeted on tuesday.
"It is sad to say goodbye to Rigu," said project manager Fuichi Judah at the Japanese Aerospace Investigation Command Center. "Literally, it has been at the center of our lives for the past one and a half years."
Goodbye, goodbye not over. Over the next few days, the Xyabusa 2 camera will capture images of an asteroid half a kilometer wide as it returns to the background of space. Then, the probe's field of vision will return to Earth to return to the road.
The Jayabusa 2 was launched back in 2014 and arrived in Rigu in mid-2018. He has since taken close-up pictures, throwing mini probes to the surface that burst into Rigu's ruins and collecting specimens during touch and movement maneuvers.
The mission aims to shed light on the composition of carbon asteroids such as Rigu, which are thought to contain the primary workings of the solar system.
Spectroscopic readings have already determined that Rigu's rocks contain traces of minerals that contain water – a discovery that may point to the oceans of our own planet. But the biggest breakthroughs are expected to come from studies of specimens that Jaabsau 2 is due to send to Australia's Eckbeck in a capsule as the main spacecraft aboard the Earth by the end of 2020.
The sample return operation follows the first Iyabusa mission that landed from tiny shapes on another asteroid called Itokawa in 2010. after the painful journey. Scientists hope that the abundant specimens of Jyabusa 2 will provide new insights into the development of life on Earth. To emphasize the point, they redesigned the mission logo with a theme far from Earth:
As we have now entered the Return phase, the mission logo has been updated. The basic green color is for the plant form of the Earth. If the sample returned from Rigu contains organic matter, we can understand how the Earth collected the raw materials for life. This logo reflects that expectation! pic.twitter.com/MQ4bMT7qwU
– HAYABUSA2 @ JAXA (@ haya2e_jaxa) November 13, 2019