TEMPO.CO, Akakarta – The Japanese spacecraft “Hayabusa2” completed its first mission in six years, on Sunday, December 6, 2020. The plane released its capsule containing samples of rocks from an asteroid that entered the Earth’s atmosphere and landed safely in the interior of Australia, right in Wumera, about 460 km north of Adelaide.
“It was found by scientists and taken to a local research center,” Japan’s space agency JAXA tweeted on Sunday.
Watch Hayabusa2 land on the asteroid Ryugu
JAXA has sent the Hayabusa2 mission to seek answers to a number of basic questions about the origin of the solar system and where the molecules like water come from. The spacecraft for this mission was launched from the Japanese space center in Tanegashima in 2014, and it took four years to reach the asteroid Ryugu.
Asteroids are believed to have formed since the beginning of the solar system, and scientists have suggested that Ryugu may contain organic matter that contributes to life on Earth. Hayabusa2 takes samples of this asteroid in two ways.
First, by firing small bullets at the surface to catch the dust particles. Second, make an explosion so that a hole in the crater with a diameter of 10 meters can be dug. From the crater, Hayabusa2 was able to obtain samples of clean material from inside the crust of the asteroid Ryugu.
“Observing rocks above and below the surface will provide an understanding of how the environment in space has changed over time,” said Carrie Donaldson Hannah of the University of Central Florida in the United States.
According to early research, the rocks of the asteroid Ryugu are porous and very brittle. Almost half of its composition is empty. If it enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it is believed that this type of rock will burn.
“So this rock sample (sent by Hayabusa2) will be something completely new to us and different from the meteorite collection that exists today,” Hannah added.
The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 landed on the asteroid Ryugu, in early July 2019. (Dr. Hayabusha 2)
After taking rock and dust samples from the asteroid’s surface, Hayabusa2 made a return trip to Earth in November 2019. The plane then released its sample capsule to enter the Earth’s atmosphere, which was done on Sunday morning.
Hayabusa2 then restarted the rocket engine, pushing it back from Earth. It still has a lot of rocket fuel available that it is expected to be able to deliver to another asteroid, 1998 KY26, in 2031 and then perform the same mission.
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