Japan’s space agency is nearing the end of a research mission aimed at shedding light on the epochs of the solar system and possibly providing clues about the beginning of life on Earth.
But first, it will have to go through an Australian look for a manger.
This weekend, one of the planet’s boats will land in a barren area near Woomera, South Australia. They are being taken to Earth in 2014 by the magical space agency JAXA, a robotic space probe Hayabusa 2, a deep, carbon-rich rock that is half a mile wide.
The success of the mission and the science it produces will elevate Japan as a central player in deep space exploration, along with NASA, the European Space Agency and Russia. Jaxa currently has a spacecraft in Bit Rabbit orbiting Venus studying the planet’s hellish climate and is collaborating with the people of Europe on a mission to Mercury.
In the coming years, Japan plans to bring back rocks from Phobos, a lunar planet on Mars, and contribute to NASA’s Artemis program to send astronauts to Earth’s moon.
But the immediate challenge would be to find in the dark a 16-inch-wide capsule with planetary patterns somewhere between hundreds of square miles in an area 280 miles north of nearby Adelaide.
“It’s not really anywhere in the middle,” said Chicago Tachibana, the chief investigator in charge of analyzing Hayabusa 2 samples. He is part of a team of more than 70 people from Japan who arrived in Womera to recover the capsules. The area, used for testing by the Australian Army, provides a large open space which is ideal for the return of an inter-plan investigation.
The short return capsule detached from the main spacecraft 12 hours before the scheduled landing, when it was about 125,000 miles from Earth. Jackson Will broadcast live The capsule landing begins at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday. (This will be the time before Sunday morning in Australia.)
The capsule is expected to hit the ground a few minutes before noon.
In an interview, the mission manager, Makoto Yoshikawa, said there was an uncertainty of 10 kilometers or about six miles in the marking where the capsule would re-enter the atmosphere. At an altitude of six miles, the capsule will drop a parachute, and this will increase ambiguity where it will fall while landing.
“The landing place depends on the wind that day,” said Dr. Yoshikawa. He said the area that seekers may have to cover could extend up to about 60 miles.
Following in the footsteps of the fire puzzle created by the re-entry capsule will help guide the recovery team, such as the capsule’s radio beacon. The task will be much more difficult if the bacon fails or if the parachute is not deployed.
There is also a little too much haste. The team hopes to fix the capsule, perform an initial analysis and return it to Japan within 100 hours. Although the capsule has been sealed, the concern is that the earth’s air will slowly leak. “There is no proper ceiling,” said Dr. Tachibana.
Once the capsule is found, a helicopter will take it to a laboratory set up at the Australian Air Force base at Woomera. There will be any gases inside an instrument capsule that may have been released by sea rocks as they were shaken and broken at the time of re-entry. Dr Yoshikawa said scientists would also like to see if they could detect a single particle of helium in the solar wind that rises in a planetary storm and sinks into the rocks.
Gas scientists will also be convinced that Hayabus 2 actually collected samples from Ryugu. A minimum of 0.1 gram, or less than 1/280th of an ounce, is required to declare success. Hopefully the spacecraft brought back several grams.
In Japan, the Hayabus 2 team will begin the analysis of Ryugu samples. In about a year, some samples will be shared with other scientists for further study.
To collect these samples, Hayabus arrived on a planet on June 2, 2018. It carried out a series of investigations of each, increasing the technical complexity. It explored the surface of the Ryugu, caught a small piece of the ship, hit the roof at the bottom of the straw and once or twice landed on the surface, a task that was far beyond expectations due to many boulders. Proved to be more challenging. Surface.
Masaki Fujimoto, deputy director general of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences, part of Jaxa, said small worlds like Ryugu were of little interest to astronomers. “Minor body, who cares?” He said. “But if you’re serious about building home systems, smaller bodies are really important.”
A study of mineral water from Ryugu could provide clues as to if the water in the Earth’s oceans came from ships, and if carbon-based molecules could represent the lifeblood of artisans.
Part of the Ryugu samples will go to NASA, which is retrieving some rocks and dust from another planet with its Ors-REX mission. The OSIRIS-RX space probe is studying a small carbon-filled planet called Bennu and it will return to Earth next spring, leaving its rock samples in September 2023.
Ryugu and Benu looked surprisingly similar in some ways, both looking like spinning tops and stone-covered surfaces, but different in other ways. For one, there is very little water in the Ryugu rocks. The significance of the similarities and differences will not become clear until scientists study the rocks in more detail.
“When the OCRIS-RX model returns, we will have lessons from the Hayabusa 2 mission,” said Harold C. Connolly Jr., a professor of geology at Rowan University in New Jersey and a model scientist for the mission for OSIRIS-RX, said. “The similarities and differences are very interesting.”
Dr. Canoli hopes to travel to Japan next summer to participate in the analysis of Ryugu samples.
Hayabusa 2 is not Japan’s first planetary mission. In fact, its name refers to the existence of Hayabusa, an earlier mission that brought samples back from another star, Itokawa. But the mission, which began in 2003 and returned in 2010, faced major technical difficulties. Similarly, Jaksha’s Akatsuki spacecraft is currently orbiting Venus, which the Japanese agency was able to bring back to a scientific mission after many years of hard work. A Japanese mission on Tuesday also failed in 2003.
In contrast, the work of the Hayabus 2 is almost smooth, although it retains the same general design as its ancestor. “Actually, there is no big issue here,” said Dr. Yoshikawa, the mission manager. “Of course, little ones.”
He said the team studied Hayabusa’s failures in detail and made changes as needed, and conducted a number of exercises to anticipate the extreme potential that could be encountered.
Japanese missions typically operate on a small NASA budget and thus often carry fewer devices. The Hayabusa 2 is priced at less than 300 300 million, while the OSIRIS-RX will cost around ਲਗਭਗ 1 billion.
The release of the Raigu samples is not the end of the Hayabusa 2 mission. After releasing the return capsule, the main spacecraft shifted to avoid colliding with the Earth, disappearing from a distance of 125 miles. It will now travel to another planet, a small nominee 1998 KY26 that is only 100 feet in diameter but spinning fast, completing one cycle in less than 11 minutes.
Hayabus 2 will use two Earth flybies to propel itself towards KY26, finally arriving in 2031. It will carry out some astronomical experiments during its extended deep space travel, and the spacecraft There is still one last guess who can use it That space to examine the surface of the rock.