Japanese space booster hosting pristine asteroid samples has docked in Australia

Humans have successfully returned to Earth with asteroid samples for two times now. The space booster carrying these pristine asteroid pieces of Ryugu landed at the Woomera Prohibited Area approximately 500 kilometers northwest of Australia’s Adelaide city. The samples came down from the asteroid via Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission, which was observing the pristine asteroid Ryugu close to one year ending November last year. 

The previous Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully returned to Earth with rock samples of the Itokawa asteroid over ten years ago. Nevertheless, the first Hayabusa spacecraft collected about 100 mg of sample material from a C-type asteroid. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) executives revealed that their studies indicated the materials of Earth’s rock samples, the ocean, and other life are like pieces separated from the solar system’s contact unit. The officials added that the samples they have collected from these asteroids would reveal to them the likely evolution of the solar system to what it has become. 

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft weighing 690 kilograms was first deployed six years ago before a similar mission took the waves two years ago, venturing Ryugu. The spacecraft explored Ryugu sending numerous mini-missions called MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout) probes to the asteroid’s surface to scoop the samples and bring them back to the spacecraft. These mini-missions are a product of the partnership between the German Aerospace Center and the French space agency CNES. 

The primary Hayabusa2 space ship conducted two voyages to the Ryugu surface. The first mission took plenty of the asteroid’s surface material after plucking 10 meters into the surface. The next mission gathered the material that they recently ploughed on the asteroid. The samples from the two trips are isolated in different units for comparison purposes since these materials are products of weathering by space radiation and the other a result of ploughing into the deep of the asteroid. 

The samples started making their way back to Earth via the spacecraft in November last year. JAXA officials narrated that Hayabusa2 spacecraft made a trajectory burn heading for Earth before another maneuver keeping them in the projection to land on Earth. The spacecraft finally landed on Earth this year with the help of a parachute. The recovery crew collected the booster via a helicopter. The review team will be transferring the samples to the JAXA’s Extraterrestrial Sample Curation Center in Japan for further analysis. The center is designed to gather cosmic material and studying them to increase the body of knowledge in this sector. 

Finally, the JAXA officials are preparing to receive the samples collected from Mars in the Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) that will be happening four years from now. The mission will recover the samples and drop them to Earth for further experimentation.

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