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Japan’s Hayabusa2 Spacecraft Drops Explosive Design to Make Crater on Asteroid

Friday's crater mission is the riskiest for Hayabusa2, as it had to immediately get away so it won't get hit by flying shards from the blast

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hayabusa2 spacecraft, japan
FILE - This computer graphic image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows the Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 approaching on the asteroid Ryugu. VOA

Japan’s space agency said its Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully dropped an explosive designed to make a crater on an asteroid and collect its underground samples to find possible clues to the origin of the solar system.

Friday’s crater mission is the riskiest for Hayabusa2, as it had to immediately get away so it won’t get hit by flying shards from the blast.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said that Hayabusa2 dropped a “small carry-on impactor” made of copper onto the asteroid Friday morning, and that data confirmed the spacecraft safely evacuated and remained intact. JAXA is analyzing data to examine if or how the impactor made a crater.

hayabusa2 spacecraft, japan
This computer graphics image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows an asteroid and asteroid explorer Hayabusa2. VOA

The copper explosive is the size of a baseball weighing 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds). It was designed to come out of a cone-shaped piece of equipment. A copper plate on its bottom was to turn into a ball during its descent and slam into the asteroid at 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) per second.

JAXA plans to send Hayabusa2 back to the site later, when the dust and debris settle, for observations from above and to collect samples from underground that have not been exposed to the sun or space rays. Scientists hope the samples will be crucial to determine the history of the asteroid and our planet.

If successful, it would be the first time for a spacecraft to take such materials. In a 2005 “deep impact” mission to a comet, NASA observed fragments after blasting the surface but did not collect them.

After dropping the impactor, the spacecraft was to move quickly to the other side of the asteroid to avoid flying shards from the blast. While moving away, Hayabusa2 also left a camera to capture the outcome. One of its first photos showed the impactor being successfully released and headed to the asteroid.

Japan, hayabusa2 spacecraft
FILE – In this Feb. 22, 2019, file photo, this 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. VOA

“So far, Hayabusa2 has done everything as planned, and we are delighted,” said mission leader Makoto Yoshikawa. “But we still have more missions to achieve and it’s too early for us to celebrate with ‘banzai.”

ALSO READ: NASA Wants Humans To Reach Mars By 2033

Hayabusa2 successfully touched down on a tiny flat surface on the boulder-rich asteroid in February, when the spacecraft also collected some surface dust and small debris. The craft is scheduled to leave the asteroid at the end of 2019 and bring surface fragments and underground samples back to Earth in late 2020.

The asteroid, named Ryugu after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale, is about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) from Earth. (VOA)

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Here are 4 Destinations you Need to Add to Your 2020 Travel Calendar

Mark your 2020 travel calendar with these global spots

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Travel destinations
If you're a traveller then you definitely need to visit these beautiful global travel destinations. Pixabay

BY SIDDHI JAIN

For travel enthusiasts and people who are looking to head out for a long-haul vacation in the upcoming year, the experts have suggested some top destinations where they can breath a “sigh of relief”. Lets see what they are:

1. Egypt

Egypt has just topped UK’s Independent newspaper’s list for “top countries to visit”. With the new Grand Egyptian Museum located near the Pyramids of Giza, opening in 2020, where there will be 30,000 never-before-seen Egyptian artefacts, this will be a big draw. –Anthony Lim, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold

2. Australia

Apart from having a plethora of natural and manmade tourist attractions, Australia will also be hosting the T20 Cricket World Cup in 2020, which will make Australia a hot travel destination in 2020. –Paytm Travel

Egypt travel
Egypt is considered to be one of the best travel destinations in the world. Pixabay

3. Bali

Indonesia’s most visited island refuses to lose its charm for the travellers. Awarded as the World’s Best Travel Destination in 2017, the island covers the holiday interests of all kinds of travellers. Whether it is natural attractions, cultural richness or gastronomic adventures, the island has multiple spots to experience them all. With its extravagant temples, never-ending coastline, some of the world’s best retreats and party spots, Bali is a marvellous combination of leisure, adventure, spiritual awakening and a happening nightlife, all in one island. –Dharamveer Singh Chouhan, Zostel

Also Read- Here are Suggestions to Ace a Destination Wedding

4. Japan

Japan will be another trending destination in the new year because of the 2020 Olympics but what people will be seeking for is the opportunity to go deeper into Japan. From the dynamic cities to the majestic temples and scenic landscapes, Japan is an amazing showcase of the juxtaposition of modern and traditional cultures. –Anthony Lim, Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold (IANS)