In Search of Origins Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2"

Latter Phase In Operation

About Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2"

(Courtesy of Akihiro Ikeshita)

Large-sized sample grains collected from Ryugu (3–10mm)

On February 22, 2019, Hayabusa2 successfully touched down on asteroid Ryugu and collected samples from the surface. On April 5, an impact device to create the first-ever artificial crater on an asteroid. On July 11, Hayabusa2 went on to make its second touchdown and succeeded in collecting subsurface material. Hayabusa2 then departed from Ryugu on November 13, and on December 5, 2020 sent back to Earth the capsule containing the samples, which was recovered on December 6 in Australia. The weight of the collected samples amounted to 5.4 grams, which was significantly higher than what was aimed for (0.1 grams). Initial analysis of part of the samples performed by universities and collaborating institutions found that this material could potentially provide a variety of information about a time period spanning from before the Solar System was created up to the present day, and that the samples contained organic material such as amino acids as well as water. In the future, the samples will be provided to researchers in accordance with proposals selected from among globally solicited submissions in the hope that these studies will be able to help unravel some of the mysteries surrounding the materials of our Solar System. Hayabusa2 itself is continuing its journey and has entered into an extended mission. The spacecraft is scheduled to explore the asteroid 2001 CC21 in 2026, and the asteroid 1998 KY26 in 2031. Furthermore, joint scientific analysis activities are being scheduled for the samples taken by Hayabusa2 and NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex.

Project Topics

Mar. 28, 2022 Updated

Registration is NOW OPEN for The Ryugu AO

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Characteristics of Asteroid Explorer "Hayabusa2"

Establishing deep space exploration technology and new challenges

Hayabusa2 will utilize new technology while further confirming the deep space round-trip exploration technology by inheriting and improving the already verified knowhow established by Hayabusa to construct the basis for future deep-space exploration.
The configuration of Hayabusa2 is basically the same as that of Hayabusa, but we will modify some parts by introducing novel technologies that evolved after the Hayabusa era. For example, the antenna for Hayabusa was in a parabolic shape, but the one for Hayabusa2 will be flattened. Also, a new function, “collision device”, is considered to be onboard to create a crater artificially. An artificial crater that can be created by the device is expected to be a small one with a few meters in diameter, but still, by acquiring samples from the surface that is exposed by a collision, we can get fresh samples that are less weathered by the space environment or heat.
Hayabusa2 was launched on December 3, 2014. It should arrive at the C-type asteroid in mid 2018, staying around there for one and half years before leaving the asteroid at the end of 2019 and returning to Earth around the end of 2020.

Major Characteristics

* Click to see larger image.
Size Main structure: 1.0m x 1.6m x 1.4m / Paddle span: 6.0m
Mass Approx. 600kg
Target body Ryugu (C-type, Near Earth Object)
Orbit Round trip between Earth and an asteroid
Scheduled arrival at destination 2018
Scheduled return to Earth 2020
Duration of stay at the asteroid about 18 months
Major onboard instruments Sampler mechanism, Re-entry capsule, Laser ranging (LIDAR, light detection and ranging), Scientific mission equipment (near infrared and thermal infrared), Impactor, Rover (MINERVA-II)
Launch Date December 3, 2014
Launch Vehicle H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.26
Location Tanegashima Space Center