Ready to Face New Challenges -Hayabusa2- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDbtQd4LeuA Missing Rosetta? Japan is about to launch another rock chasing mission
The Hayabusa-2 spacecraft is due to be launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on Monday. The original
launch date was scheduled for tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 30th November), but concern over ice crystals in the atmosphere
delayed plans by 24 hours.
Like Rosetta, Hayabusa-2 to planning to chase down and sample a space rock. The target however, is not a comet, but an
asteroid which is orbiting the Sun between the Earth and Mars. Asteroids and comets are both left-over pieces from when
the planets were forming, but asteroids reside much closer to Earth, predominantly in a band of small rocks between Mars
and Jupiter. Also like the comets, asteroids are a candidate for bringing water to Earth. Their chemical composition is
therefore linked with one of the most important questions in astrobiology:
How did we get water and is it likely that a similar process has also splashed down oceans on an exoplanet?
Hayabusa-2 will spend the next year reaching asteroid '1999 JU3'. It will analyse the asteroid over the next 18 months,
attempting three touch-downs on the asteroid's surface to gather samples. Unlike Rosetta, which dropped the probe 'Philae'
to the comet's surface for in-situ analysis, Hayabusa-2 will momentarily land itself, drawing samples of the rock into
containers for the ride home. Hayabusa-2 will depart 1999 JU3 in late 2019 to return its samples to Earth in December 2020.
As its name suggests, this is not the first mission of this kind attempted by JAXA. Hayabusa-1 returned to Earth in 2010,
after a rather fraught mission to gather samples from the asteroid 'Itokawa'. While Itokawa is not the right type of
asteroid to carry water, the images and analysis from Hayabusa-1 provided many clues to the planet formation process.
Adam Synergy https://plus.google.com/101896919790504389955/posts/7LPmJWXvtKx