Japan creates first artificial crater on asteroid

Japan's Hayabusa2 mission aims to shed light on how the solar system evolved
Japan's Hayabusa2 mission aims to shed light on how the solar system evolved

Japanese scientists have succeeded in creating what they called the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid, a step towards shedding light on how the solar system evolved, the country's space agency said Thursday.

The announcement comes after the Hayabusa2 probe fired an explosive device at the Ryugu asteroid early this month to blast a in the surface and scoop up material, aiming to reveal more about the on Earth.

Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager at the Japanese (JAXA), told reporters they confirmed the crater from images captured by the probe located 1,700 metres (5,500 feet) from the asteroid's surface.

"Creating an artificial crater with an impactor and observing it in detail afterwards is a world-first attempt," Tsuda said.

"This is a big success."

NASA's Deep Impact probe succeeded in creating an artificial crater on a comet in 2005, but only for observation purposes.

Masahiko Arakawa, a Kobe University professor involved in the project, said it was "the best day of his life".

"We can see such a big hole a lot more clearly than expected," he said, adding the images showed a crater 10 metres in diameter.

JAXA scientists had previously predicted that the crater could be as large as 10 metres in diameter if the surface was sandy, or three metres if rocky.

"The surface is filled with boulders but yet we created a crater this big. This could mean there's a scientific mechanism we don't know or something special about Ryugu's materials," the professor said.

The aim of blasting the crater on Ryugu is to throw up "fresh" material from under the asteroid's surface that could shed light on the early stages of the .

The asteroid is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born.

In February, Hayabusa2 touched down briefly on Ryugu and fired a bullet into the surface to puff up dust for collection, before blasting back to its holding position.

The mission, with a price tag of around 30 billion yen ($270 million), was launched in December 2014 and is scheduled to return to Earth with its samples in 2020.

Photos of Ryugu—which means "Dragon Palace" in Japanese and refers to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale—show the asteroid has a rough full of boulders.


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Apr 25, 2019
"The surface is filled with boulders but yet we created a crater this big. This could mean there's a scientific mechanism we don't know or something special about Ryugu's materials," the professor said.

They certainly don't know about plasma discharges, or at the very least never consider them.

Apr 25, 2019
"The surface is filled with boulders but yet we created a crater this big. This could mean there's a scientific mechanism we don't know or something special about Ryugu's materials," the professor said.

They certainly don't know about plasma discharges, or at the very least never consider them.


Lol. And what plasma discharges would they be? You're off in la-la land again. Say hello to Wal while you're there.

Apr 25, 2019
They certainly don't know about plasma discharges, or at the very least never consider them.
That's OK. They ignored Einstein, they mocked Velikovsky, they even laughed at Alouysius Grindlebrönk...

Apr 25, 2019
What is this seemingly endless fascination with plasma?! Is this the stuff from blood banks, or that highly energized stuff?

I can't seem to figure this out.

@Castrogiovanni, is there something I am missing here?

Apr 25, 2019
They certainly don't know about plasma discharges, or at the very least never consider them.
That's OK. They ignored Einstein, they mocked Velikovsky, they even laughed at Alouysius Grindlebrönk...


Until something is provably correct it is suspect. One of these is not like the others.


Apr 25, 2019
What is this seemingly endless fascination with plasma?!
It's the field-theoretic equivalent of flat-earth, stemming from a few authors decades ago who rejected nuclear processes as the explanation for solar/stellar energy, who were first inspired by Immanuel Velikovsky's replacement of gravity with electromagnetism... it seems those old timers felt the itch to play musical chairs with the forces. To his credit, Velikovsky found little reason to challenge the growing--in fact  e s t a b l i s h e d--legitimacy of elemental fusion as the root origin of the celestial orbs' output.

But my recollection, from a long time ago perusing the delicious old crank's Worlds In Collision etc., is that he felt that in the solar pin-ball machine, planets were highly charged bodies and were given to firing off gigantic bolts of lightning, as though they were so many perambulating van deGraff accelerator electrodes, or Tesla machines.

Apr 26, 2019
@Castrogiovanni, is there something I am missing here?


It is, I'm guessing, also related to the failed prediction of an unqualified EU clown called Wal Thornhill, back in 2005, when he predicted that an impactor at comet Tempel 1, would cause some sort of plasma-woo effects. This is due to him being an eejit, and thinking that comets are just rocks experiencing some sort of electrical woo as they speed in towards the Sun. Suffice to say that he was 100% wrong. As he always is.

Apr 27, 2019
"Japanese scientists have succeeded in creating what they called the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid, a step towards shedding light on how the solar system evolved . . ."

Japanese scientists have succeeded in creating what they called the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid, A STEP TOWARDS MINING ASTEROIDS!"

There I fixed it.


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