[CRA2] The formation of the crater, where the Small Bearer collided with Rugu, is confirmed! These images compare the surface before and after the collision of SCI. pic.twitter.com/BZPYlHhSjsApril 25, 2019
Japanese spacecraft successfully exploded a crater in a space rock called Riugu, a mission confirmed today (April 25th), announcing animation as showing the impact has changed the surface of the asteroid.
The visual confirmation of the effects of maneuvering marks another major milestone in the Mission Hayabusa2 that the Japanese Air Research Agency (JAXA) has sent to explore Ryugu.
"The exact size and shape of the artificial crater will be thoroughly examined in the future, but we can see that terrain on the surface for [60 feet] 20 m[eters] wide has been changed " JAXA wrote in a Twitter update. "We did not expect such a big alternative to start a lively debate in the project!"
Related: Pictures: Japanese mission Hayabusa2 Asteroid specimen-return
So far, JAXA has only released pre-and-then pictures of where the spacecraft created the crater. The photo "After" was captured during a recent excursion that sent Hayabusa2 to hover near the surface of Ryugu. The main spacecraft descended from the asteroid during a stroke and about two weeks after it was protected by fly debris.
The JAXA team not only wanted to leave its mark on another body of the solar system. The operation with an artificial crater has a scientific value; the procedure was supposed to give scientists an approach to study pure material under the underground surface of Riugu.
Now that JAXA has confirmed that the operation has resulted in a crater, scientific work can begin. This may involve absorbing a sample of that deeper rock that will join the sample collected earlier this year from another location on Rugu.
Hayabusa2 will remain on the asteroid by the end of this year, when the spacecraft turns to Earth with its precious cargo of specimens of cosmic rocks.