Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft returned to the site where it bombed the asteroid Ryugu to scoop up samples of rocks on July 10. And now, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released epic footage of the historic event.
This is a 10x speed animation captured with the small monitor camera (CAM-H) during 2nd touchdown. CAM-H was installed by public donation — thank you everyone! Image time: 2019/7/11 10:03:54 ~ 10:11:44 JST, at altitudes 8.5m ~ 150m. (📷 JAXA) https://t.co/ZrzegHABYU pic.twitter.com/owtaDxZx0m
— HAYABUSA2@JAXA (@haya2e_jaxa) July 26, 2019
The images that make up the video were taken at intervals between half a second and five seconds, during the period when the spacecraft was between 8.5 and 150 meters above the asteroid’s surface.
The space probe has been in the tiny asteroid’s orbit since June 2018, where it has been trying to dislodge rock samples by shooting a bullet and tossing an explosive at the space rock. The plastic explosive left a 10 meter crater in the kilometer-wide asteroid.
Hayabusa2 successfully landed on Ryugu for the first time on February 22, before firing its bullet at the asteroid’s surface. It also dropped two “hopping” rovers onto the asteroid’s surface in September of last year, and a third rover in October.
Haybusa2 is still planning to release a future lander on the asteroid’s surface before embarking on its lengthy return trip back to Earth in December 2020. It will also be attempting to drop ROVER-2, a small robot that’s equipped with a thermometer and multiple cameras.
READ MORE: Watch the moment Hayabusa2 grabbed rock samples from asteroid Ryuga [CNET]
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