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.

News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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