For the first time on a distant boulder Ryugu landed moving robots
In the last months of space exploration rarely hit the headlines in the media. The work was carried out, but some breakthroughs were not. But recently surprised the Japanese: September 22, on the surface of a distant asteroid landed two miniature robot. First the hype around the event has died down, and now you can easily understand what is so important is what happens on lost in space boulders with a diameter of about 900 m and is called the Ryuga, and she to asteroid 1999 JU3.
Objectives: what went on 300 million dollars
For what spent such a large amount? And is it big? $300 million invested in “Hayabusa-2” is the cost of two or three luxury penthouses in swanky district of new York. And objectives of the project, the authors have identified the phrases: “Where are we?” “Advanced technology” and “New frontiers.”
Substances that billions of years ago the Solar system formed and the Earth survived the asteroids. Remote studies have shown that Ryuga has water and organic compounds. It is difficult to overestimate science the possibility of obtaining such samples for analysis.
“Hayabusa-2” is the second Japanese mission to deliver samples of the asteroid. “The first in the history of space exploration mission included a lot of brand new technologies. Second, we develop the achieved developments and apply brand new. All this creates new opportunities for the future”, – explained in the Japanese aerospace Agency (JAXA).
A daring venture will provide new knowledge about the asteroid belt, which pose a potential danger for the Earth, create technology of mining in the space and set goals for future manned missions.
Title: fairy-tale characters in space
The Eastern Nations in space research traditionally use images from epics, fairy tales and myths. You may recall the Chinese carrier rocket the long March, Lunokhod “Jade rabbit” and not so long ago descended from orbit station “heavenly Palace”.
The Japanese also followed this tradition. Their transport ships serving the ISS, called “White stork”. A heavenly body that became a goal of Japanese space mission “Hayabusa-2”, opened in 1999, scientists of the Observatory, Socorro (USA). The asteroid is assigned a provisional designation 1999 JU3, and in 2015 it acquired its final name – Ryugu.
The name of the asteroid was taken from Japanese fairy tales. A fisherman visited the underwater Palace of the dragon, Ryūjin, and returned from there with the mysterious casket, donated by the daughter of the dragon.
The idea of this name occurred after 1999 JU3 went, the mission, aimed at the selection of soil samples and delivering them to Ptvk. Poetic Japanese noticed that there are some similarities between the objectives of the space station and ancient fable. And the name of the actual device and the mission – “Hayabusa” – translated as “Falcon”. Experts also clarify that we are talking about the fastest bird in nature – the Falcon-the peregrine Falcon.
Work plan: what needs to be done on the asteroid
“First of all, we very carefully examine the surface topography. Then choose a landing spot. There are collected samples of rocks,” explains head of mission Makoto’s Yoshikawa.
According to the expectations of the authors of the mission, the work of the space station supposed to last 18 months, up to 2020 the Actual unit “Hayabusa-2” is the vehicle that delivered the landing modules. After their descent to the asteroid it will continue remote sensing studies from orbit and will provide the transfer of information from all devices on the Ground. After taking samples of the ground station will have to deliver them to orbit the Earth. Spokeman assigned their tasks, for the most part it’s shooting all sorts of measurements.
A family of three vehicles that look like small barrels, weighing three pounds.
On the asteroid’s gravity is very weak, so the robots can move around the surface of the jumps. The height of the jump is up to 15 m, and flight duration – up to a quarter of an hour. Time enough to survey and explore the area down with a set of different sensors.
The obtained information is transmitted to the station rotating in orbit around the asteroid, and from there to the control center on Earth. According to currently available information, this stage of the program successfully completed: all the robots are on the asteroid and are ready to start work.
Module built by scientists of France and Germany. The name is an abbreviation of the English phrase “mobile spy the surface of the asteroid”. The module weighs 10 kg, dimensions – 30 x 30 x 20 cm battery should last for 16 hours of the work of four devices – a wide-angle camera, magnetometer, a temperature sensor and a spectroscope. As well as the propulsion system, which will allow the module to take a little ride on the surface. The area for planting were chosen so that there was no boulders greater than 30 m and dust and radiation did not interfere with the operation of the devices. Finally, the landing site was selected at a great distance from the place of work jumping robots.
In October of the station separate device, which can be called either a sling, or a crusher. At the same time from the station to depart for the chamber (cylinder with a diameter and a length of 8 cm) which will remove the events from outside. The space sling will be lowered to a height of several hundred feet will throw a series of copper shells (weight 1.8 kg) bombs in the asteroid. From bumps on the surface of the Ryugu formed crater. All these tricks are needed in order to clear the ground on the surface. Therefore, when sampling there will not be space dust and shattered rock, covering the surface of the asteroid. Alas: in the first Japanese mission to the asteroid Itokawa, the majority of samples were obtained exactly from destroyed external influences of the surface layer.
Under the “belly” of the station set meter cylinder-the probe, ending in a bell. After the shells will form a crater, the station will descend to the surface, leaning into her socket.
The cylinder turns on a jet engine. Raised by a stream of particles of size 1-5 mm will accumulate in the sampler. In addition, there will be samples of gases, discovered at the surface at the sampling site. So formed the cargo, which then travel to Earth.
If scheduled, the algorithm will not work, the bottom edge of the probe is made in the form of a comb. The teeth will bite into the surface when you touch and pick up particles of soil, so that no production of “Hayabusa-2” in any case, will remain.
It is expected that the station will be the opportunity of three attempts for sampling.
And another impressive figure. All these high-tech tricks will be done in order to get from 1 to 5 g of substance of the asteroid! During the same mission OSIRIS-REx (USA) it is planned to have 60, But Japanese scientists believe that their prey will not yield us. “They will get more samples, but ours will be better quality,” – says one of the developers of the probe Shogo Tachibana.
This device (diameter – 40 cm, height 20 cm, weight – 16 kg) shall deliver samples on our planet. Its design has not fundamentally changed after the first mission, except that took into account the errors and made some improvements. When the station will overcome the return path, the return capsule will separate and will enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The temperature on the surface of the capsule will reach 3,000 degrees, but inside is at 50 degrees. At an altitude of 10 km the parachute would work.
The misadventures of the first mission
The first attempt to deliver soil samples from the asteroid taken by Japanese scientists and engineers 15 years ago. In 2003 to the asteroid Itokawa started the station is “Hayabusa”. Itokawa has a lot of interest with its unusual form and surface: it was flat, somewhere covered with stones.
It was planned that after sampling, the station will fly past Earth and drop the return capsule.
In the course of the mission faced many difficulties. The failure, in the figurative expression of the participants, had to remove almost a “duct tape and wire”.
A solar flare damaged the solar panels. Balky ion engines. Therefore, the goal of “Hayabusa” came late in 2005, the failure of the orientation system have jeopardized the entire undertaking, but this time managed to fix it. The first attempts to put “Hayabusa” on the surface Itokawa have been unsuccessful: a miniature robot “Minerva” worth $10 million flew into space instead of staying on the surface.
This was followed by attempts to take samples of the soil. Failure resulted in damage to one of the engines. But the samples were still taken on Board. But I lost contact with the station to recover it was only in 2006. And only in 2009 I got to run the ion engine to direct the long-suffering station home.
In 2010, “Hayabusa” reaches of the earth, enters the atmosphere and drops a capsule with the long-awaited cargo. The spacecraft burned in the dense layers of air. Capsule lands safely by parachute in Australia. Capsule sizes – diameter 40 cm, height 25 cm, weight – about 20 kg. the sample represented 1.5 thousand grains, the diameter of most of which does not exceed 10 microns.
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