Japanese Probe to Try to Land on Asteroid Ryugu on Feb. 22

Science Society Technology Politics

Tokyo, Feb. 6 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Hayabusa 2 unmanned probe will attempt to touch down on the asteroid Ryugu on Feb. 22, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said Wednesday.

The landing attempt has been delayed from the initial schedule of late October, due to difficulties deciding a location for the landing.

In September-October, JAXA conducted three landing rehearsals, sending Hayabusa 2 to approach a candidate landing area near the asteroid's equator and drop a target marker there.

But JAXA decided to postpone the landing attempt after it learned that the surface of Ryugu is rockier than initially thought.

JAXA has since worked to narrow down candidate landing areas by studying the surface condition in detail, eventually selecting a 3-meter-radius site near the target marker and with relatively few rocks.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press