In addition, the team has posted a number of images of the surface of the asteroid
Interplanetary station “Hayabusa-2” successfully completed its third rehearsal of soil sampling from the asteroid Ryugu and threw him the ball with the names of 180 thousand people. In addition, the team has posted a number of images of the surface of the asteroid, obtained at the second rehearsal of the reduction, including the detailed image of the soil Ryugu today.
This was reported on the website of the mission.
Automatic interplanetary station “Hayabusa-2” was launched in late 2014 and is designed to study the asteroid (162173) Ryugu. June 27, 2018 station has arrived to the asteroid and came to a stable orbit around it. Research program is for a year and a half and includes both research Ryugu from orbit and from its surface. Earlier, the “Hayabusa-2” successfully landed on the surface of the Ryugu two small re-entry module MINERVA-II 1 and the unit MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout), which is the largest of the lander aboard the station. Modules sent a series of photographs and showed that the Ryuga is strewn with fragmented rocks and boulders of various shapes and sizes and is almost devoid of extensive accumulations of fine dust or regolith, which are often found on atmosphereless celestial bodies, which are exposed to space weathering.
However, the main objective of the mission is sampling the soil and its delivery to Earth. First, “Hayabusa-2” closer to the surface of the asteroid and at an altitude of 500 meters, shoot into the surface of the penetrator SCI (Small Carry-on Impactor), consisting of a copper shell with a mass of 2.5 kg and 4.5 kg of explosive charge. It is assumed that the projectile will crash into the surface of Ryugu at the speed of two kilometers per second, and the impact crater will be the site of further research of the Orbiter, which will initially investigate the exposed layers of the subsurface remotely, and then come and with the help of a special device, a length of one meter, take a soil sample from the crater. Next, the sample is placed in the return to Earth capsule. In November-December 2019 the station will be on course back to Earth and drop a capsule with the substance of the asteroid into the atmosphere in December 2020.
Was previously selected three sites are relatively safe of soil sampling, further study of these revealed the most suitable spot in L08. The mission team has designated this place L08-B, there are no large boulders, but on 14 October, during the second rehearsal of soil sampling TD1-R1-A “Hayabusa-2” found that the diameter L08-B is only about 20 meters, which is a risk just not to get into this place while decreasing. Based on recent observations and approaches conducted the project team decided to delay soil sampling until January of the following year, and in the period from 23 to 25 October to hold the third rehearsal of soil sampling. The unit is successfully decreased to the height of 20 meters and dropped on the surface of the Ryuga one of the small balls filled with polymer pellets with aluminum foil, on which are engraved the names of 180 thousand people gathered in the framework of the campaign “Le Petit Prince 2 Million Campaign” in the period from April to August 2013. The top bulb is covered with a layer of, well reflecting the light. After resetting the bulb lidar space camera tracked with the help of the distance to the surface Ryugu, so engineers could test the accuracy of the holding position of the stations at low altitudes and its handling, and on-Board camera ONC-W1 got the surface Ryuga with her apparent bright spot indicating the position of the ball.
Additionally, the mission team has posted a number of images of the surface of the asteroid, obtained at the second rehearsal of the reduction, including the animation of the images showing the descent to the surface, as well as the most detailed image of the soil Ryugu today. It was obtained using the on-Board camera ONC-T 15 October when the “Hayabusa-2” was at the height of 22.3 m above the asteroid.
The image resolution is about 4.6 millimeters per pixel, which allows to distinguish small stones with a length of 2-3 cm. It is clearly seen that the surface layer of the Ryuga is almost completely devoid of regolith and can be mixed.
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