Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft successfully deploys landers to asteroid Ryugu’s surface
Two landers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have successfully touched down on the Ryugu asteroid after separating from the Hayabusa2 probe in orbit.
In October, the Hayabusa2 probe will deploy an “impactor” that will explode above the asteroid, shooting a 2kg copper missile to blast a small crater into the surface. From this crater, the probe will collect “fresh” materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation, hoping for answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth. The probe will also release a French-German landing vehicle named the mobile asteroid surface scout (MASCOT) for surface observation.