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.
- 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