Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe on Friday launched an explosive device at an asteroid to shed light on how the solar system evolved. This was also aimed to blast a crater in the surface and aimed at revealing more about the origins of life on Earth. The Hayabusa2 mission, which costs around 30 billion yen (USD 260 million), was launched in December 2014 and will return to Earth with its samples in 2020. Hayabusa2, about the size of a large fridge and equipped with solar panels, is the successor to JAXA’s first asteroid explorer, Hayabusa, which is Japanese for the falcon.
Hayabusa2 successfully released as scheduled the so-called "small carry-on impactor" and the probe soared just 500 metres (1,650 feet) above the asteroid Ryugu.
The impactor was programmed to explode 40 minutes later, propelling the copper bottom towards Ryugu, where it should gouge a crater into the surface of the asteroid that spins 300 million kilometres from Earth, CGTN reported.
Hayabusa2 moved smartly away from the area to avoid being damaged by debris from the explosion or colliding with Ryugu while also releasing a camera to capture images of the event, the report added.
Earlier, Hayabusa2 spacecraft pictures reveal that asteroid Ryugu is a rocky surface. Japan space agency scientists and engineers were thrilled by the images being sent to Earth by two jumping robotic rovers that they dropped onto an asteroid about 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) away. The sharpest-ever photo of the big asteroid Ryugu shows a complex surface strewn with rocks and rubble. Earlier, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency posted the latest photos on its website.
In October last year, JAXA successfully landed a new 10-kilogramme (22-pound) observation robot known as MASCOT— “Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout.” Loaded with sensors, the robot can take images at multiple wavelengths, investigate minerals with a microscope, gauge surface temperatures and measure magnetic fields.