The Japanese published new images from the moment the probe approached the surface of Ryugu and the view of the landing site itself. Based on the data, we will now be able to prepare a rescue mission.
The Ryugu planetoid belongs to one of the oldest objects traversing the Solar System. Its careful study will allow us not only to develop technologies that will allow us to protect against cosmic rocks, but also to get to know the turbulent past of the formation of celestial bodies and the Earth and the flowering of biological life on it.
The close flight of the probe over the surface of Ryugu and landing on it provided us with extremely interesting information. Scientists have revealed that there are hydroxyl minerals, which indicates that once, on the primeval celestial bodies from which Ryugu was formed, there was water, and in it the bricks of life or even simple organisms.
The Japanese believe that objects like Ryugu, before billions of years, could bring to Earth and initiate the flourishing of life as we know it. If in reality it was as they suggest, then life in the Universe may be more common than we think. It must be emphasized here that this object belongs also to the Apollo group, which means that in the future it may pose a threat to our planet.
Image of Ryugu’s asteroid surface before and after landing. Floating rocks are visible. Fig. JAXA.
The second landing of the Hayabusa-2 probe on Ryugu took place on July 11 this year. The place of landing was the area of the crater, which was created as a result of impact of the impactor from the Japanese probe. This was the first bombardment of the planetoid in the history of mankind. We would like to remind you that the Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) impactor is a 2.5 kilogram copper block that was formed under the impact of a 4.5 kilogram of HMX plastic explosive. It collided with the asteroid at a speed of about 2 km / s and led to the formation of a crater with a diameter of 10 meters.
During the latest landing, the vehicle collected further dust and rock samples from the surface of the facility. The Hayabusa-2 probe will provide collected samples from the entire 100 milligram mission to Earth for more thorough research. Therefore, this mission is considered historical. The probe should start returning to Earth in December 2019. The samples should fall into the hands of scientists a year later.