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Japan’s Hayabusa2 Asteroid Mission Reveals a Remarkable New World

14 Mar 2019, 02:53 UTC
Japan’s Hayabusa2 Asteroid Mission Reveals a Remarkable New World
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The Hayabusa2 touchdown movie, taken on February 22, 2019 (JST) when Hayabusa2 first touched down on asteroid Ryugu to collect a sample from the surface. It was captured using the onboard small monitor camera (CAM-H). The video playback speed is five times faster than actual time (JAXA).

On March 5 the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) released the extraordinary video shown above. The sequence of 233 images shows a spacecraft descending to collect material from the surface of an asteroid, before rising amidst fragments of ejected debris. It is an event that has never been captured on camera before.

The images were taken by a camera onboard the Hayabusa2 spacecraft, a mission to explore a C-type asteroid known as “Ryugu” and bring a sample back to Earth.

C-type asteroids are a class of space rock that is thought to
contain carbonaceous material and undergone little evolution since the early
days of the Solar System. These asteroids may have rained down on the early
Earth and delivered our oceans and possibly our first organics. Examination of
the structure of Ryugu and its composition compared to Earth will help us
understand how planets can become habitable.

Asteroid Ryugu from an ...

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