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6.19.19
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Japan Lobs Bomb to Blow Hole in Asteroid… For Science

April 5th 19__Jon Christian__Filed Under: Hard Science
Go Miyazaki/JAXA

Bomb Squad

Japan’s Hayabusa-2 probe keeps attacking the asteroid Ryugu with a vengeance.

First it shot the hapless asteroid with a bullet, and then Japan’s space agency, JAXA, announced a plan to have the probe blow a hole in Ryugu with plastic explosives — a scheme it put into motion on Friday, according to the New York Times, by dropping the bomb and kicking up dust on the surface, “suggesting that the blast had gone off as intended.”

Bruce Ryugis

The bombing wasn’t be an act of space vandalism. The idea is to blow a 10-meter-wide crater in Ryugu in order to see what it looks like on the inside, according to the BBC — instead of the surface, which has been bombarded by cosmic radiation for untold millions of years.

Hayabusa-2 dropped the explosive payload from a height of about 500 meters — and then hid on the other side of Ryugu to avoid flying debris.

READ MORE: For Deeper Insights, Japanese Space Mission Bombed an Asteroid to Make a Crater [The New York Times]

More on asteroids: NASA Shocked by “Plumes Erupting From an Asteroid’s Surface”