JAXA Has Developed A New Mission For The Hayabusa2 Probe
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has developed a plan for further use of the Hayabusa2 space probe, which is currently heading to the Earth after completing a mission to collect soil from the Ryugu asteroid, according to Yomiuri newspaper on Sunday.
The new mission of the probe is to study the asteroid 1998 KY26 with a diameter of about 30 m, which moves in an orbit between Earth and Mars. It is expected that in July 2031, Hayabusa2 will land on its surface and take samples of the soil of the celestial body, which may contain particles of water and organic substances. In the future, Japanese experts will compare them with similar samples delivered from Ryugu to obtain new data on the nature of asteroids.
Hayabusa-2 was launched to Ryugu in December 2014 from a spaceport on the Japanese island of Tanegashima. During its stay in the asteroid area from June 2018 to November 2019, the Japanese probe made two successful landings on its surface. During one of them, the device specifically made an explosion to create an artificial crater and get samples from the deeper layers of the space body.
According to JAXA, the orbit of the returning spacecraft will be finally oriented on November 25. At the same time, the capsule itself with the collected materials will separate from the probe on December 5 at an altitude of 220 thousand km from the Earth's surface. It will take about 12 hours to reach Earth and land the next day in the Woomera restricted area in Australia. The probe will also have time to take pictures of the falling capsule. With sufficient fuel, Hayabusa 2 will remain in space and will be used in a new mission.