Watch a Japanese spacecraft grab another monster from an asteroid

A camera has successfully captured an attempt by a Japanese spacecraft to grab a second monster from a distant asteroid. Although the actual collection of samples took place earlier in July, a video was made just on Friday 26 July of images taken during the maneuver.

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The monster collecting spacecraft, Hayabusa2, has been in orbit around the Ryugu asteroid since July 2018 and has already delivered robots and robbers to the asteroid. In the new video you see the shadow of the spacecraft grow steadily as it approaches the surface of the asteroid. While the vast monster-collecting limb makes contact, a flurry of dust and rocks explodes from the surface as the spaceship quickly goes back into space.

The video (which is accelerated about 10 times) documents the second time the spacecraft has taken a sample from the asteroid. Her also the second time a camera is on board – CAM-H, which was completely funded by public donations – the sample collection campaign has been recorded.

A blog post on the official website of Hayabusa2 mentioned the potential danger of the second collection attempt. The combination of unfriendly terrain, technical difficulty of the maneuver and the fact that the spacecraft was operating so far from the earth left Hayabusa2 & # 39; s mission control without room for error. As the team already indicated, it was not because they had successfully taken a sample in February that it would not guarantee an equally good result with this next attempt.

They decided to give it a go and thought that all those risks substantially outweighed the potential scientific resources that would wait if they could collect a second sample. In contrast to the first attempt, this time the team wanted to remove material from the interior of the asteroid that has not undergone as much radiation as the surface.

In April, Hayabusa2 shot a crater in the surface of Ryugu and exposed material from the inside of the asteroid to the space. A few weeks later, photos of the crater were sent back to Earth so that researchers could find out where fresh material had landed from the impact and whether they could make a safe effort to collect it. They decided it was with the risk.

By the way, "vaguely frightening doesn't make any progress." Observed the anonymous blog authors.

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Hayabusa2 is making progress since its launch in December 2014. The spacecraft will finally begin its journey home in November or December. It should arrive on Earth somewhere at the end of 2020, after which it will run its precious monsters as souvenirs of a very long and eventful journey through the atmosphere.

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