In a new attempt by the human race to unravel the mysteries surrounding the Earth, Japan successfully completed a risky mission. To learn more about the composition of the asteroids, the Asian country “attacked” one of them to take the pieces that came off it. And there is a video of that moment!
«Thank you for the support that came from all parts of the world! Everyone in the control room is making a cheerful V signal in honor of the second ‘touchdown’! ».
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is in charge of the Hayabusa2 Project, which has followed the path of the Ryugu asteroid. It was on February 22, 2019, when the ship first touched the celestial body. April 5 was when the agency carried out a task that seems taken from a science fiction story.
That day the JAXA used a tool known as Small Carry-on Impactor, which has the function of crashing into objects in space and then collecting the fragments obtained after the collision. With this, they managed to create an artificial crater that exposed part of the material contained under the surface of Ryugu.
During that mission, Hayabusa2 left a mark that could be used to land on the asteroid again. The Japanese agency considered it for months since this maneuver is not easy to do. The rocky and irregular terrain would not allow the ship to be placed on it easily, but the information that could be obtained in exchange for the risk was worth it.
The second “date” between Hayabusa2 and Ryugu was scheduled for July 11. Thanks to a camera that was acquired with people’s donations, JAXA was able to record what happened. The speed of the video is 10 times greater than the real one and in it, you will see the exact moment of the collision. They are incredible images because that task is extremely complex and you don’t always have the resources to record it.
As a curious fact, you will be interested to know that Brian May is part of the team that works with Hayabusa2. That’s right, the same astrophysicist who plays the guitar in Queen. He helped create the stereoscopic images that allowed the rest of the experts to better understand the structure of the asteroid.