Japan's Hayabusa2 aims to probe asteroid '1998KY26' in 2031
Kyodo -- Sep 16
Japan's Hayabusa2 space explorer will aim to probe the asteroid "1998KY26" located between the orbits of Earth and Mars in 2031 after completing its current mission of collecting samples from another asteroid, the country's science minister said Tuesday.

It is hoped Hayabusa2 will approach the ball-shaped asteroid, which has a diameter of around 30 meters and rotates about every 10 minutes, in July 2031, Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Koichi Hagiuda said.

The probe is expected to observe the spinning asteroid by camera without landing on it, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Since "1998KY26" is assumed to be a carbon-rich asteroid similar to Ryugu, which Hayabusa2 probed on its current mission, comparing observed data between the two may lead to a new discovery.

小惑星探査機「はやぶさ2」の新たな旅の目的地が決まった。 「はやぶさ2」は、2020年の12月6日に地球に向かって、小惑星「リュウグウ」のサンプルが入ったとみられるカプセルを放出する予定。 カプセルを地球に届けたあとにすぐ、新たな惑星探査に向かう「はやぶさ2」だが、次の目的地は、地球と火星の間を回る「1998KY26」と呼ばれる小惑星に決定したことが新たにわかった。 この惑星は、直径30メートルほどで、およそ10分間に1回という周期で高速自転をしている。 この惑星には、2031年7月ごろに到着予定で、はやぶさ2の生命の起源に迫る挑戦は、まだまだ続く。
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