Selection of Site for Hayabusa2 Landing on Asteroid in Final Stage

Science Society

Tokyo, Jan. 5 (Jiji Press)--The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, is carefully examining locations on asteroid Ryugu for its Hayabusa2 spacecraft's landing as early as late this month, after giving up the probe's first touchdown attempt that had been scheduled for late October 2018.

In September-October last year, JAXA conducted a total of three rehearsals for the landing on candidate areas around the equator of Ryugu.

During the rehearsals, JAXA succeeded in lowering Hayabusa2 to a point 12 meters above Ryugu's surface by a method of autonomously controlling the craft's altitudes and attitudes using a laser sensor.

"We've got to the point where the only thing left for us to do is make a landing, so we're fully prepared in terms of technique," said Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager at JAXA.

The problem is that Ryugu's surface is rockier than expected. This made JAXA to give up the first landing attempt.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press