Japanese spacecraft collected samples of soil of the asteroid. What’s he looking for there?

Japanese space probe “Hayabusa-2” held for the second successful mission for the collection of soil samples from the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. Previously , we reported that the unit was transmitted to Earth new images of small celestial bodies in the course of this operation.the first animated images of successfully completed tasks appeared at the same time, Japanese space Agency (JAXA) responsible for during this space mission just now published a video which shows complete process of collecting samples of asteroid soil.

The mission of the Japanese space probe “Hayabusa-2” began in December 2014. But to its goal of research – the asteroid Ryugu — the machine was able to reach only by the end of June 2018. In September of the same year, “Hayabusa-2” dropped to the surface of the asteroid a few compact jumping robot research. In February of 2019 spent the first collection of samples the soil surface. During the second sample collection before the probe had the task of sampling, but located deep inside the asteroid. In April of that year, the probe dropped to the surface of the Ryugu breaking the shell, forming a crater. After that, the team started preparing the machine to get closer to an asteroid near this place.

How was the sampling?

Before you begin to decrease and, in fact, the collection of soil samples, “Hayabusa-2” dropped to the surface of the asteroid white bright marker. With the help of his management team mission was able to slowly and carefully bring the machine to the asteroid in the right spot.

Composite image of the surface of the Ryuga, received by the spacecraft “Hayabusa-2” before its landing on the asteroid on July 11

As reported Space.com before rapprochement with the asteroid probe is fired into the surface of a celestial body with a special metal bullet. She picked up subsurface soil, which the Japanese probe and harvested using a special suction device. It can be seen in the video below.

The whole process of sample collection apparatus “Hayabusa-2” was filmed with the camera CAM H, mounted on the spacecraft. Shooting process began at the time when the machine is dropped to a height of 8.5 meters above the surface of the object. After that, the camera began to take pictures every 0.5-5 seconds. It is reported that the entire process of reducing and collecting of the samples took less than 10 minutes. Collecting samples in a special container, the device started the engines and soared to a height of 150 meters above the surface of the asteroid.

On the official website of the mission noted that the second attempt of collecting samples was more dangerous. The combination of difficult the surface of the asteroid at the Assembly ground, the technical difficulties of maneuvering and the fact that the probe is a few hundred million kilometers from the control center on Earth – were not given the right to make a mistake. In February, scientists said that a second attempt of collection of the soil can fail. But decided to risk it anyway.

What scientists are looking for on the asteroid?

It is expected that the unit “Hayabusa-2” will be in the asteroid Ryugu until November-December of this year. After that, the probe will go together with collected samples back to Earth. Arrival is expected by the end of 2020. When they reached the Ground, the device will reset the specimen containers through the planet’s atmosphere.

Scientists believe that the study of these samples in the laboratory will allow to better understand the history of our Solar system. Perhaps the existing particles of the material in these samples will tell researchers about how on the Earth could have formed life.

See also: In a nearby system detected the two most similar to Earth exoplanets