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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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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.

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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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Xiaomi Confirms the Plans to Enter Japan in 2020: Report

Xiaomi hadn't revealed what products it would bring to Sweden, but the event page included the text "Smart Life Made Simple", which hinted at the company launching smart home products

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Xiaomi devices include Xiaomi smartphones, Mi TVs, Mi ecosystem and accessory products that were sold across mi.com, Mi Home, Flipkart, Amazon and offline partner stores. Wikimedia Commons

Wang Xiang, head of Xiaomi’s international operations, disclosed the company is set to enter Japan next year with high-performance smartphones offering at lower prices.

Wang said Xiaomi eventually hopes to partner with wireless carriers, the main distributors for phones in Japan, though he did not mention any specific names, Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday.

Initially the products will be available exclusively through the company’s own sales channels, including online.

During the interactive media session, Wang also tried address data-privacy concerns surrounding Chinese companies.

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The highest demand among people was for of smartphones, followed by Mi ecosystem devices, accessories and Mi TVs. Wikimedia Commons

“We cooperate with … Google. We have a track record of respecting personal data protection rules in Europe, and we’ll do the same in Japan”, he said.

Additionally, Xiaomi is also set to make its debut in Sweden soon.

Also Read: Microsoft Gets Back with Nokia After a Failed $7 Billion Smartphone Deal

The smartphone player will hold an event in central Stockholm, Sweden, on November 13, which will kick off at 1 p.m. (local time).

Xiaomi hadn’t revealed what products it would bring to Sweden, but the event page included the text “Smart Life Made Simple”, which hinted at the company launching smart home products. (IANS)