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New pictures View the surprisingly large crater that was blasted into Asteroid Ryugu by Japan's Hayabusa2 Probe

Left: The surface before the explosion. Earlier this month, the spacecraft Hayabusa2 used an explosive device to create an artificial crater on the Ryugu asteroid, but the probe could not hold on to confirm jobs for fear of being damaged by debris. The Japanese space agency has now confirmed the artificial crater – but that's not exactly what they expected. Earlier today, the Hayabusa2 probe, flying at a height of 1,700 meters above the Ryugu asteroid, used its optical navigation camera (ONC-T) to confirm the presence of a surprisingly large artificial crater on the surface. Considering the rocky composition of the area, JAXA researchers expected something a little less, so the exercise already tells something new about this asteroid and how it was formed. On April 5, 2019, Hayabusa2 used an explosive device to blast a crater on the surface of Ryugu. Images taken by the probe showed the explosive device, about the size of a baseball, slowly down to the surface. JAXA, afraid that the probe would be damaged by the subsequent debris, hid the probe behind the asteroid for about two weeks while the dust slowly slowed down in the low gravity. However, with Hayabusa2 out of harm's way, JAXA could not confirm the presence of an artificial crater or its size. To prove that Hayabusa2 got the job, the JAXA probe had to fly from April 23-25. Images collected by the probe eventually gave the space agency confirmation of the hole. It is "determined that the collision…

Left: The surface before the explosion.

Earlier this month, the spacecraft Hayabusa2 used an explosive device to create an artificial crater on the Ryugu asteroid, but the probe could not hold on to confirm jobs for fear of being damaged by debris. The Japanese space agency has now confirmed the artificial crater – but that’s not exactly what they expected.

Earlier today, the Hayabusa2 probe, flying at a height of 1,700 meters above the Ryugu asteroid, used its optical navigation camera (ONC-T) to confirm the presence of a surprisingly large artificial crater on the surface. Considering the rocky composition of the area, JAXA researchers expected something a little less, so the exercise already tells something new about this asteroid and how it was formed.

On April 5, 2019, Hayabusa2 used an explosive device to blast a crater on the surface of Ryugu. Images taken by the probe showed the explosive device, about the size of a baseball, slowly down to the surface. JAXA, afraid that the probe would be damaged by the subsequent debris, hid the probe behind the asteroid for about two weeks while the dust slowly slowed down in the low gravity. However, with Hayabusa2 out of harm’s way, JAXA could not confirm the presence of an artificial crater or its size.

To prove that Hayabusa2 got the job, the JAXA probe had to fly from April 23-25. Images collected by the probe eventually gave the space agency confirmation of the hole. It is “determined that the collision device generated a crater”, JAXA noted in a press release. With the crater now confirmed, Hayabusa2 is now returning to its home location, about 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) above the surface.

A map of Ryugu, with the small red square, designated S01, the site of the artificial crater. Image: JAXA

“Creating an artificial crater with a bumper and observing it in detail afterwards is a world first attempt,” says Hayabusa2 project manager Yuichi Tsuda, speaking to reporters earlier today, reported by AFP. “This is a great success.”

NASA’s Deep Impact blasted an artificial crater on Comet Temple 1 on July 4, 2005. The difference in this case is that Hayabusa2 is now trying to extract material from this new crater, while Deep Impact could only make observations.

Hayabusa2’s explosive device should have drawn material from deeper inside the asteroid, which will reveal the formation of asteroids and other celestial objects in the solar system. Earlier in the mission, the probe swept up the material from the top of the asteroid surface. The probe is expected to return to the soil with its samples, both from the surface and the sub-surface at the end of 2020.

Enter the mission and after Having evaluated the target area on the surface, JAXA researchers expected an artificial crater between 2 and 3 meters (6.5-10 feet). Unexpectedly, however, the new crater seems to be about 10 meters (almost 33 feet) above, with the total affected area measuring about 20 meters wide. As noted in the AFP report, a loose sand surface was expected to form a crater of the larger size, but the target area was rocky and filled with boulders.

“The exact size and shape of the shaped artificial crater will be examined in detail, but it can be seen that the topography in the region of about 20 [change] notes JAXA in a . “It was not assumed that such a major change would occur, so there was a lively debate in the project. It seems we can expect new advances in planetary science.”

Masahiko Arakawa, a professor of Kobe University working on the project , said “the surface is filled with boulders but still we created a crater so large,” AFP reported. “It may mean that there is a scientific mechanism that we do not know or something special about Ryugu’s material.”

JAXA continues to study the images collected by Hayabsua2 in recent days to learn more about the new crater and to refine their estimates. After that, the space agency will direct the probe to collect material from within the crater, in what will undoubtedly be a very delicate and accurate operation – but a possibly easier one considering the unexpectedly large size of the hole.

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