In focus: Hayabusa 2 Mission

In focus: Hayabusa 2 Mission


  • Hayabusa 2 is the successor of Hayabusa mission of Japan to study the origin and evolution of our solar system.
  • Hayabusa mission was launched in 2003 to study the features of asteroid ‘Itokawa’.
  • Hayabus 2 mission was launched in 2014 and reached its destination, asteroid ‘Ryugu’ in 2018.


About the mission

  • Hayabusa 2 mission involves multiple sub-missions including orbitor mission, small carry-on impactor mission, rover mission etc to collect and study samples from the asteroid.
  • Missions to study surface feature
  • June 2018- Minerva Landers
    • The first sub-mission involved deployment of 2 surface-landers, MINERVA-II, onto the surface of ‘Ryugu’.
    • The landers were to take pictures and measure the asteroid’s temperature.
  • October 2018- MASCOT Lander
    • Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) lander was deployed to study the surface of the asteroid by sharing wide-angle images.
  • Probe beneath the surface
    • February 2019-Hayabusa 2 touches down on the asteroid ‘Ryugu’.
    • Now it has successfully shot a small carry-on impactor made of copper.
  • July 2019
    • In July 2019 Hayabusa 2 will release set of rovers onto the asteroid
  • November 2019
    • It will bring back the samples collected for analysis on Earth.


Small carry-on impactor SCI mission

  • Under the SCI mission, Hayabusa 2 spacecraft shot a copper projectile packed with explosives onto the asteroid.
  • The impactor exploded from a height of 3.5 metres above the surface creating a crater on the surface of ‘Ryugu’.
  • Hayabusa 2 will collect the sample dust created from the explosion and later bring in back to earth.
  • Besides, it will also send picture of the blast to earth.


Significance of the Mission

  • The mission will collect samples from underground that have not been exposed to the sun or cosmic radiation.
  • Thus, it is crucial to determine the history of the asteroid and our planet.
  • Studying the samples from ‘Ryugu’ will reveal the make-up of early planets including earth.


About Ryugu

  • Ryugu is a near-earth carbonaceous asteroid about 300 million kilometers from Earth.
  • The diameter of Ryugu is about 900m-1km.
  • It constitutes primitive material of the solar system since it is a relic from the formation of our solar system,


In brief: Asteroids

  • Asteroids are rocky objects within the orbit of Jupiter, most of which orbit the sun in the same direction as the planets.
  • Asteroids are also called minor planets.
  • The largest asteroid, Ceres, has a diameter of about 900 km.
  • The next largest Vesta is about 500 km in diameter.
  • Asteroids orbit the Sun at distances of 2 to 3.5 AU (1 Astronomical Unit = 150 million kilometers, distance between earth and sun).
  • This region of the solar system between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter is called the asteroid belt.
  • The early solar system is thought to have been filled with planetesimals, most of which were incorporated into the planets.
  • The leftover objects that missed out on becoming a planet make up the present-day asteroids.
Section : Science & Tech

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