Hayabusa 2 makes its rendezvous with its target asteroid!
At 9h35 JST (Japan Standard Time) this morning, Wednesday 27 June 2018, the Hayabusa2 probe reached its "home position", 20 km from the target asteroid "Ryugu", which is currently at a distance of 1.9 AU (astronomical units, 285 million km) from the Earth. Hayabusa2 was launched on 2nd December 2014 towards "Ryugu", a type C "carbonaceous" asteroid, likely a parent body to some of the most primordial chondritic meteorites. This endeavour by our ISAS/JAXA colleagues opens with a remote-sensing phase to characterise “Ryugu" (see the first images published on the JAXA website). This will be followed up, in particular, with in situ analysis (October onwards) by the Mascot lander, developed by the DLR and the CNES. The MicrOmega instrument, developed at the IAS, on board Mascot will carry out the first analyses, down to the microscopic scale, of the mineralogical and molecular composition of the soil of an asteroid. This exploration will continue with the collection of samples and their return to Earth at the end of 2020.
Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic (ONC-T) image of Ryugu, photographed at 12:50 p.m. (JST), June 26, 2018.
ONC team (image credit): JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology,
Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.