Hayabusa2 to create artificial crater in April
NHK -- Mar 06
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency says its Hayabusa2 space probe will attempt to make a crater in the asteroid Ryugu next month.

On February 22, Hayabusa2 successfully touched down on the asteroid, which is about 340 million kilometers from Earth. JAXA officials say it is likely the probe has collected rock samples as planned.

They announced the probe's next mission at a news conference on Tuesday.

They say a device called an "impactor" will be used to make a crater near the asteroid's equator during the first week of April.

They say Hayabusa2 will attempt a second touchdown in May to collect rock samples, but if the hole is too small or the surface is too rough, they may change the location for the landing.

Project manager Yuichi Tsuda says Hayabusa2 will begin detailed observations this month of the proposed touchdown site.

Tsuda says this will be the first attempt to make an artificial crater on an asteroid and bring back rocks. He says his team will make careful preparations and wants to try to make a touchdown at the earliest possible date in May.

JAXA officials also released images of the moment when Hayabusa 2 touched down on Ryugu last month. The footage shows sand and rock fragments floating around the device used to collect rock samples.

小惑星探査機『はやぶさ2』が『リュウグウ』に着陸した時の映像が5日、公開された。地表に装置を押し付けて、岩石を採取するための弾丸を発射すると、その衝撃で表面の石や砂が宙に舞うのが確認できる。リュウグウには、水分や有機物が多く含まれていると推定されている。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
May 27
After a fun-filled weekend of golf, sumo, cheeseburgers and charcoal-grilled meat and vegetables, U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are set to hold formal talks Monday, with trade and tensions with North Korea topping the agenda. (Japan Today)
May 27
Scorching heat hit Japan on Sunday. The temperature shot up to over 39 degrees Celsius in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. That's a national record high for May. (NHK)
May 27
On the evening of 22 May in the city of Itami, Hyogo Prefecture, a 28-year-old electrician was arrested for drunk driving. (soranews24.com)
May 27
Three people remained missing as of Sunday evening after two Japanese cargo ships collided during the early morning hours off the coast of Chiba Prefecture, the Japan Coast Guard said. (Japan Times)
May 27
Japan's labor market has achieved full employment over the past two years. Unemployment has declined over the past two years to below 3 percent-close to the levels of the 1980s and early 1990s-after peaking at 5.4 percent in 2012. (Japan Times)
May 26
Temperatures rose across Japan on Saturday to highs usually not seen until the height of summer, causing hundreds of people to be taken to hospitals and prompting the weather agency to issue heatstroke warnings. (Japan Today)
May 26
As a foreigner, you will notice that there are pachinko parlors everywhere in Japan. The neon signs of these pachinko parlors will meet your gaze everywhere in the country. Even the television channels will be full of advertisements for new parlors and machines. (newsonjapan.com)
May 26
Japan's top trade negotiator with the United States has said both sides continue to differ on negotiations for a trade deal, adding that they need to work further to narrow the gap. (NHK)
May 26
US President Donald Trump is scheduled to spend a full day with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday, ahead of their summit on Monday. (NHK)
May 26
In sumo, rank-and-file wrestler Asanoyama has clinched his first tournament title. (NHK)