Japan's Hayabusa2 probe makes 'perfect' touchdown on asteroid

The successful landing is the second time Hayabusa2 has touched down on the distant asteroid Ryugu
The successful landing is the second time Hayabusa2 has touched down on the distant asteroid Ryugu

Japan's Hayabusa2 probe made a "perfect" touchdown Thursday on a distant asteroid, collecting samples from beneath the surface in an unprecedented mission that could shed light on the origins of the solar system.

"We've collected a part of the solar system's history," project manager Yuichi Tsuda said at a jubilant press conference hours after the successful landing was confirmed.

"We have never gathered sub-surface material from a celestial body further away than the Moon," he added.

"We did it and we succeeded in a world first."

The fridge-sized probe made its second landing on the asteroid around 10:30am (0130GMT), with officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) breaking into applause and cheers as initial data suggested the touchdown had been a success.

Confirmation of the landing came only after Hayabusa2 lifted back up from the asteroid and resumed communications with the control room.

Research director Takashi Kubota told reporters that the touchdown operation was "more than perfect."

And Tsuda, with a grin, said he rated it "1000 points out of 100."

"The probe moved perfectly and the team's preparation work was perfect," he said.

Pristine samples

The brief landing Thursday is the second time Hayabusa2 has touched down on the desolate asteroid Ryugu, some 300 million kilometres (185 million miles) from Earth.

Officials from Japan's space agency celebrated news of Hayabusa2's successful second touchdown on the asteroid Ryugu
Officials from Japan's space agency celebrated news of Hayabusa2's successful second touchdown on the asteroid Ryugu

Ryugu, which means "Dragon Palace" in Japanese, refers to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient Japanese tale.

The complex multi-year Hayabusa2 mission has also involved sending rovers and robots down to the surface.

Thursday's touchdown was intended to collect pristine materials from beneath the surface of the asteroid that could provide insights into what the solar system was like at its birth, some 4.6 billion years ago.

To get at those crucial materials, in April an "impactor" was fired from Hayabusa2 towards Ryugu in a risky process that created a crater on the asteroid's surface and stirred up material that had not previously been exposed to the atmosphere.

Hayabusa2's first touchdown was in February, when it landed briefly on Ryugu and fired a bullet into the surface to puff up dust for collection, before blasting back to its holding position.

The second touchdown required special preparations because any problems could mean the probe would lose the precious materials already gathered during its first landing.

Hayabusa2 space mission
Hayabusa2 space mission

'The world is watching'

A photo of the crater taken by Hayabusa2's camera after the April blast showed that parts of the asteroid's surface are covered with materials that are "obviously different" from the rest of the surface, mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa told reporters before the latest touchdown.

Scientists are hoping the probe will have collected unidentified materials believed to be "ejecta" from the blast after landing briefly in an area some 20 metres away from the centre of the crater.

Japan says space probe landed on asteroid to get soil sample
This Feb. 22, 2019, file image released by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows the shadow, center above, of the Hayabusa2 spacecraft after its successful touchdown on the asteroid Ryugu. Japan's space agency JAXA said Thursday, July 11, 2019 that data transmitted from the Hayabusa2 indicated its second successful touchdown on the distant asteroid to complete a historic mission - to collect underground samples in hopes of finding clues to the origin of the solar system. (JAXA via AP, File)

"It would be safe to say that extremely attractive materials are near the crater," Tsuda said before the landing.

The touchdown is the last major part of Hayabusa2's mission, and when the probe returns to Earth next year to drop off its samples, scientists hope to learn more about the history of the solar system and even the origin of life on Earth.

The Hayabusa2 mission has attracted international attention, with Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May sending a video to the probes team ahead of the landing.

"The world is watching. We love you, take care Hayabusa2," the musician told the team.

Hayabusa2 has already landed successfully once on the Ryugu asteroid, collecting surface samples
Hayabusa2 has already landed successfully once on the Ryugu asteroid, collecting surface samples

Hayabusa2 is the successor to JAXA's first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa—Japanese for falcon, which returned with dust samples from a smaller, potato-shaped asteroid in 2010.

It was hailed as a scientific triumph despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey.

The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014, and has a price tag of around 30 billion yen ($270 million).


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Japan's asteroid probe Hayabusa2 set for final touchdown

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Jul 11, 2019
Research director Takashi Kubota told reporters that the touchdown operation was "more than perfect."
Maybe I am just being pedantic here, but; How can there be a "more than perfect"?
I cannot think how that cannot be a contradiction.

Jul 11, 2019
This is Far Away! Why didn't they choose 2019 AS5,s a near earth asteroid that passed close by on 8 January 2019? It passed within 0.04 lunar distances or 15,000 kilometers of Earth, 8600 km from the surface. It is estimated to be about 1-2 meters in diameter. As of May 2019, it is the closest approach of an asteroid in 2019. https://en.wikipe...2019_AS5

Jul 11, 2019
Research director Takashi Kubota told reporters that the touchdown operation was "more than perfect."
Maybe I am just being pedantic here, but; How can there be a "more than perfect"?
I cannot think how that cannot be a contradiction.
Modification of an absolute is not a contradiction. Perhaps ignorance in a pedant-wannabe is some sort of contradiction.

Jul 11, 2019
This is Far Away! Why didn't they choose 2019 AS5,s a near earth asteroid that passed close by on 8 January 2019? It passed within 0.04 lunar distances or 15,000 kilometers of Earth, 8600 km from the surface. It is estimated to be about 1-2 meters in diameter. As of May 2019, it is the closest approach of an asteroid in 2019. https://en.wikipe...2019_AS5

I actually have no idea but just looking at the wiki page of AS5, it has an uncertainty parameter of 5 compared to Ryugu's 0. It could be too difficult to aim a probe to an asteroid with that much uncertainty.

Jul 11, 2019
300 Million (3000 Lakhs) Kilometres from Earth? IDIOTS; MOON is ONLY 384,400 (3.844 Lakhs) KM

Jul 11, 2019
300 Million (3000 Lakhs) Kilometres from Earth? IDIOTS; MOON is ONLY 384,400 (3.844 Lakhs) KM

New Race to Moon; NASA Shake-up
https://news.yaho...040.html

Jul 11, 2019
Congratulations to the Hayabusa2 mission and to JAXA. Well done.

Jul 11, 2019
This is Far Away! Why didn't they choose 2019 AS5,s a near earth asteroid that passed close by on 8 January 2019? It passed within 0.04 lunar distances or 15,000 kilometers of Earth, 8600 km from the surface. It is estimated to be about 1-2 meters in diameter. As of May 2019, it is the closest approach of an asteroid in 2019. https://en.wikipe...2019_AS5
You don't just lay on a space mission in weeks or even months; this is not Star Trek. It takes years, and BTW, AS5 was not discovered until *after* it had passed us by. This is not surprising for an object only a couple meters in diameter.

Remember: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

Jul 11, 2019
if you are going to kibitz after-the fact? making this demand & that?

i would assume you are being kept in a cage.
to prevent you from organizing & building your own cherished project?

cause if you are going to whinge about other people's success?
you will sound less childish if you are making some sort of physical effort to be productive....

Jul 11, 2019
@wills - when are you ever going to learn to construct proper sentences?

Sorry - translation 4U:
When are you ever?
Going to learn.
To construct proper sentences?

You would sound less like a nutjob if you were, ...ummm..., more in control?

Jul 11, 2019
if you are going to


I'm intrigued by his non-use of capitalization.

I assumed he must be 'texting' his comments via a smart phone, and avoiding the extra step of making a character upper case. But at least my phone automatically makes the first character of a text message a capital. So I'm just not sure why he is illiterate.

You're right SkyLight.

Jul 11, 2019
@wills - when are you ever going to learn to construct proper sentences?

Sorry - translation 4U:
When are you ever?
Going to learn.
To construct proper sentences?

You would sound less like a nutjob if you were, ...ummm..., more in control?
He thinks it makes him look smarter. Like granville. Only idiots think this way.
assumed he must be 'texting' his comments via a smart phone, and avoiding the extra step of making a character upper case
Naw he's just an idiot poser.

Granville
Rrwillsj
SEU/surveillance whatever
Benni

-block them, keep them blocked.

This has been a public service announcement

Jul 11, 2019
300 Million (3000 Lakhs) Kilometres from Earth? IDIOTS; MOON is ONLY 384,400 (3.844 Lakhs) KM
Instead of calling real scientists idiots after drawing your conclusions after reading a fucking PRESS RELEASE, why dont you make a little effort and find out just how little you know?

Try the internet.

Jul 11, 2019
Research director Takashi Kubota told reporters that the touchdown operation was "more than perfect."
Maybe I am just being pedantic here, but; How can there be a "more than perfect"?
I cannot think how that cannot be a contradiction.
Modification of an absolute is not a contradiction. Perhaps ignorance in a pedant-wannabe is some sort of contradiction.

It's proof that he has never heard of or doesn't understand what hyperbole is.

Jul 12, 2019
If NASA had done it, it would have cost five times as much.

Jul 12, 2019
It will be very exciting to see the analysis of the subsurface material!

Sample return FTW.

Jul 12, 2019
Research director Takashi Kubota told reporters that the touchdown operation was "more than perfect."
Maybe I am just being pedantic here, but; How can there be a "more than perfect"?
I cannot think how that cannot be a contradiction.
@Humy
offered IMHO only -
meeting all expectations and knowns without hitch would be "perfect"
Exceeding all expectations and then giving data that was unknown and had not been considered while still without a hitch would be "more than perfect"

Jul 12, 2019
i am "purrfectly" content to successfully piss off so many professional trolls
professional, as in whoring woomongers

it is a sign of your mass hormonal hysteria that you looneyticks keep returning to my comments
publicly displaying your deep-rooted submissive masochism
that you keep crawling at my feet begging
"oh Daddy puh-leeze spank me
i've been such a naughty dirty girl!"

myself? i feel as happy as a terrier tossed into a betting hall rat pit

so many vermin, so little time


Jul 12, 2019
@wills, you're such a foolish little man. But don't let that stop you blowing off steam...

Jul 12, 2019
Slight
yet here you are
begging for your caning

Jul 12, 2019
@willy - good luck in your sadistic little bubble of hatred.

Jul 15, 2019
& he keeps coming back for more!

Jul 15, 2019
Hey Little Willy - why don't you drink a pint or two of that vitriol, instead of throwing it in the faces of people who come here to learn or discuss science? It would do you the world of good, and us all a big favor...

Jul 15, 2019
so? when will you start discussing science?
instead of dumping your ignorant spite on those actually doing the work?

still waiting for you to offer anything pertinent to the research instead of your whinging about how it's presented

baby doll, all you got to do is push that "block" button & mean it
amazing how many of your competing loons & fakirs cannot resist coming back for more of my firm discipline

then you can go on posting whatever cult pseudo-science fraud you are trying to sell to the suckers
without having to suffer the discomforts of my mockery of your pretensions to knowledge


Jul 15, 2019
You know you're a very sick and disturbed person, Willy - I'm guessing you were serially abused as a child by a person close to you, or somebody in authority. Your father? An uncle? The local priest? Football coach? Your elder brother, FFS? It's clear you need professional help - but why use this forum to take your revenge out on others?

I'll wager you haven't a single friend in the world, and you type out your vituperative taunts behind thick closed drapes in your shabby single-room apartment in the hope that in so doing you'll transfer a little of the constant pain and anguish you suffer, every second of every day.

And make the others suffer, right?

Right, Willy?

Jul 15, 2019
slight, you have an amazing inability for self-control of your infantile tantrums

push the button
learn how to grow up

cause "right" now?
the only exposure you are accomplishing?
are your own inner demons

Jul 16, 2019
Wiily, you really are a preposterous poseur! You imagine yourself to be the arbiter of what's permissible in this forum and hurl abuse at anybody who doesn't agree with your arbitrary demands.

Grow up? Start discussing science? Firm discipline? Whoring woomongers? Talk about the pot calling the pan black...

Fuck you, Sonny Jim!

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