JAXA, the Japanese space agency, has just scheduled the future phases of the Hayabusa-2 mission on asteroid Ryugu. The spacecraft reached its target in June after a journey of 3,5 years. JAXA planned the deployment of the separate robotic landing craft in September and October. The modules will be launched in two different areas of Ryugu.
The Hayabusa-2 mission is of great importance for the Japanese space agency, JAXA, as if everything goes okay it would be the first spacecraft to deploy landers to collect data on the surface of an asteroid.
Asteroid Ryugu is a one-km-wide space rock belonging primitive type of asteroid from the early history of our solar system. Therefore, analyzing it is significantly important for the scientists to understand the solar system and the Universe better. Also, the astronomers hope to shed more light on the formation and evolution of the Earth.
JAXA set the deployment dates for Hayabusa-2 mission’s robotic landers
Hayabusa-2 would launch the first container known as Minerva II-1, a 3.3-kg load, on September 21st. This cargo contains Rover 1A and Rover 1B which will use a motor-powered rotating internal mass that propels the robots on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu.
About two weeks later, the spacecraft will deploy the Mascot lander, developed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in collaboration with the French Space Agency (CNES). Therefore, on October 3rd, Mascot (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout), a 10-kilo instrument, will reach on the surface of asteroid Ryugu.
Mascot packs a wide-angle camera, a microscope, a radiometer, and a magnetometer to measure the space rock’s magnetic field.
“The surface of asteroid Ryugu is covered with boulders, so we need to continue gathering and considering information so that we can touch down safely,” stated JAXA.
Right before leaving asteroid Ryugu, which would take place in December 2019, Hayabusa-2 will detonate an explosive charge causing a crater. Then, Ryugu will head home and hopefully will return safely to Earth somewhen in 2020.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.