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Hayabusa 2 Arrives at Ryugu

27 Jun 2018, 13:47 UTC
Hayabusa 2 Arrives at Ryugu
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The asteroid game is heating up. The Japanese probe Hayabusa 2 has arrived at asteroid 162173 Ryugu, the plan being to reach the surface with landers later this year and bring back samples in 2020. We also have ORISIS-REx, launched in 2014, on course to 101955 Bennu in December, with a sample return planned for 2023. Assuming both missions are successful, scientists will have the opportunity to compare the composition of the two. Both are C-type (carbonaceous) asteroids, darker than previously explored asteroid Itokawa. The current Hayabusa is similar to the probe that first returned an Itokawa sample to Earth in 2010.
JAXA confirmed the arrival of Hayabusa 2 at 9:35 (Japan time) on the 27th: “The National Research and Development Corporation Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announces that we have confirmed the arrival at asteroid Ryugu (Ryugu) of the asteroid explorer ‘Hayabusa 2′”, adding that the distance between the spacecraft and the asteroid is about 20 kilometers.
Itokawa is an S-type asteroid, so this will be our first chance to sample a C-type, the closest previous encounter with the latter being the NEAR Shoemaker flyby of 253 Mathilde in 1997, which could not close to less than 1000 ...

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