Let us hearth a bullet at an asteroid. This may well seem like a plot stage from a sci-fi present, but it is about to turn out to be fact this 7 days when Japan’s place company JAXA directs its Hayabusa two spacecraft to go seize a sample of an asteroid.

Hayabusa two arrived at the asteroid Ryugu in mid-2018 and has presently shipped two rovers and a lander to the floor. But touching down on the rock with its sampler horn is a delicate procedure. 

JAXA delayed the landing from very last tumble soon after finding Ryugu’s floor was considerably rockier than envisioned. The new sample selection time is established for Friday, Feb. 22 at eight a.m. Japan time, which performs out to Thursday, Feb. 21 at three p.m. Pacific in the US.

JAXA will broadcast stay on-line from its handle place with an English translation offered.

The spacecraft’s cylindrical sampler horn is developed to contact the asteroid’s floor, hearth a bullet into the rock and then obtain up the fragments ejected by the influence. 


The Hayabusa 2 team conducted an experiment on Earth to see if the sampler is very likely to function with Ryugu’s gravelly floor. The take a look at associated firing a projectile into a simulated floor created to mimic the asteroid. In accordance to the final results, the spacecraft’s technique must function just wonderful.

The landing is nonetheless a daring procedure. The spacecraft will have to stay away from boulders, but nonetheless get shut sufficient to attain the floor. If all goes nicely, Hayabusa two will return to Earth in late 2020 with a little bit of asteroid on board for researchers to research. 

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