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7.17.19
Bombs Away

Japan Releases Video of Its Spacecraft Bombing an Asteroid

April 23rd 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Hard Science
JAXA

Look Out Below

We now know what it looks like when a spacecraft lobs a bomb at an asteroid.

Earlier in April, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) directed its Hayabusa2 spacecraft to toss an explosive at the Ryugu asteroid from about 1,640 feet above its surface.

Now, JAXA has released a video of the launch taken from the spacecraft’s perspective — and while the craft takes cover before impact, the video still provides a stunningly detailed look at the asteroid’s surface.

Closer Look

According to a European Space Agency press release, the researchers behind the mission expect the bombing will have created a “distinctive crater” on Ryugu.

They hope to retrieve some of the subsurface material dislodged by the bombing so that they can analyze it on Earth after the spacecraft returns to terra firma.

The plan now is to send Hayabusa2 back to the scene of the asteroid bombing on Thursday to investigate and take images — so while we might not know what a bombed asteroid looks like right now, we might not have to wait long to find out.

READ MORE: Now You Can Watch Japan’s Hayabusa2 Shoot a Bomb at an Asteroid [Space.com]

More on Hayabusa2: Japan Lobs Bomb to Blow Hole in Asteroid…for Science