FOCUS: Expectations High for Successful New Mission of Hayabusa2

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, Sept. 28 (Jiji Press)--Expectations are high for the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa2 after the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, announced earlier in September that an unexplored asteroid will be the new target for the unmanned probe.

Hayabusa2 will head to the asteroid 1998KY26 after completing its current mission of delivering a capsule believed to be containing samples of sand from the asteroid Ryugu to Earth in December.

The new target asteroid has a diameter of only about 30 meters and is spinning rapidly.

According to JAXA, it will the first time in the world that a probe has visited a celestial body under 100 meters in diameter.

After dropping off the Ryugu sand samples, Hayabusa2 will conduct multiple swing-bys using Earth's gravity to change direction. The probe is scheduled to reach 1998KY26 in July 2031, covering a distance of some 10 billion kilometers, or about double the distance traveled to reach Ryugu.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press