Showing posts from February, 2019

Update: Japanese spacecraft safely lands and leaves asteroid surface in effort to collect samples Source:   By Dennis Normile, Science Magazine. Excerpt: *Update, 22 February, 6:33 a.m.: Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully executed a challenging touchdown on asteroid Ryugu today at about 7:30 a.m. Japan time. Officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency confirmed that during an autonomous operation Hayabusa2 landed momentarily within a target site just 6 meters wide and fired a steel pellet into the surface of the asteroid in hopes of scattering fragments into a collection horn. Mission planners hoped to collect 10 grams of material, but the amount won't be known for sure until the sample container is returned to Earth in 2020. Hayabusa2 could make two more touchdowns to gather additional samples. [4 January story previewing its historic touchdown plans:] YONAGO, JAPAN—Japan's Hayabusa mission made history in 2010 for bringing back to Earth the first samples e