Japan probe blasts asteroid to make crater

  1. A Japanese spacecraft, Hayabusa2, has launched an explosive device at asteroid Ryugu. The aim is to blast a crater in the surface of the asteroid. It seeks to throw up “fresh” material from under the asteroid’s surface that could shed light on the early stages of the solar system.
  2. In February, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft had successfully touched down on asteroid Ryugu. It had then collected some surface fragments.
  3. Hayabusa 2 is a Japanese spacecraft launched in December 2014 on a six-year mission. It seeks to study the asteroid Ryugu and to collect samples to bring to Earth for analysis. It will bring the asteroid sample to Earth in 2020.
  4. Asteroid Ryugu is a near-Earth object and a potentially hazardous asteroid of the Apollo group. A near-Earth object (NEO) is any small Solar System body whose orbit brings it to proximity with Earth.
  5. The Hayabusa2 mission is a follow-up to Japan’s original Hayabusa mission which took samples from asteroid Itokawa. It was the first spacecraft to take samples from an asteroid and also the first mission to successfully land and take off from an asteroid