Japan sticks the landing: Asteroid sample recovered from Hayabusa2 probe

Probe now sets sail for further adventures


Vids'n'pics Japanese and Australian astroboffins have successfully recovered samples taken from Asteroid Ryugu by the Hayabusa2 probe.

Hayabusa2 has had quite a ride and has more adventures ahead of it.

The probe launched in 2014 and spent three-and-a-half years travelling to near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu, which has a diameter of about 1km and occasionally passes within 100,000km of the planet upon which you are (presumably) reading this story.

Hayabusa2 carried four rovers, one of which was used after the spacecraft shot a bullet at the asteroid to disturb its surface and stir up some matter to bring home in a sealed capsule designed to survive the rigours of re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.

The probe bade farewell to Ryugu in November 2019 and early on Sunday morning, Australian time, the recovery capsule was spotted streaking across the sky as it made its way towards the Woomera prohibited area for a pre-dawn landing.

En route it was spotted by cameras on the International Space Station at 13:27 in the video below.

Youtube Video

The probe later released the sample return capsule and ground-based observers were able to see it streak across the pre-dawn sky.

The capsule carried the samples from Ryugu, plus a radar-reflective parachute and a radio beacon designed to make it easier to find in the very hot, dry, and nasty conditions often found in the region.

As it happened, everything worked, and news of the capsule’s retrieval emerged before lunchtime.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency staff approached the capsule wearing protective gear and what looks like some trepidation.

Japanese space agency staff approach the returned sample capsule

Click to enlarge

Before long, the capsule becamse safe to handle and was popped into a shiny box.

The returned sample from Hayabusa2

The sample return capsule in its box.
Click to enlarge

The precious cargo was soon on its way to the facility established to handle the landing.

Images of the sample have not yet been released and we’ll have to wait for some time to get them because the sample package has not been opened. That won’t happen until it is returned to Japan.

Another story we’ll have to wait for is news of Hayabusa2’s ongoing adventures, because the probe skipped off past Earth and has enough fuel aboard to line up a 2026 rendezvous with another asteroid, the mysteriously ruddy 2001 CC. Japan’s space agency has even contemplated a third asteroid visit, in 2030, and even a possible fly-by of Venus. As it flits about the inner solar system, the probe’s cameras will also be used for observations of exoplanets and other phenomena. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Assange can go to UK Supreme Court (again) to fend off US extradition bid

    Top Brit judges may consider whether an American prison is just too much

    Julian Assange has won a technical victory in his ongoing battle against extradition from the UK to the United States, buying him a few more months in the relative safety of Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh.

    Today at London's High Court, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Burnett approved a question on a technical point of law, having refused Assange immediate permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The WikiLeaker's lawyers had asked for formal permission to pose this legal conundrum about Assange's likely treatment in US prisons to the Supreme Court:

    Continue reading
  • They see us Cinnamon Rolling, they're rating: GeckoLinux incorporates kernel 5.16 with familiar installation experience

    A nice, clean community distro that works well

    Most distros haven't got to 5.15 yet, but openSUSE's downstream project GeckoLinux boasts 5.16 of the Linux kernel and the latest Cinnamon desktop environment.

    Some of the big-name distros have lots of downstream projects. Debian has been around for decades so has umpteen, including Ubuntu, which has dozens of its own, including Linux Mint, which is arguably more popular a desktop than its parent. Some have only a few, such as Fedora. As far as we know, openSUSE has just the one – GeckoLinux.

    The SUSE-sponsored community distro has two main editions, the stable Leap, which has a slow-moving release cycle synched with the commercial SUSE Linux Enterprise; and Tumbleweed, its rolling-release distro, which gets substantial updates pretty much every day. GeckoLinux does its own editions of both: its remix of Leap is called "GeckoLinux Static", and its remix of Tumbleweed is called "GeckoLinux Rolling".

    Continue reading
  • Running Windows 10? Microsoft is preparing to fire up the update engines

    Winter Windows Is Coming

    It's coming. Microsoft is preparing to start shoveling the latest version of Windows 10 down the throats of refuseniks still clinging to older incarnations.

    The Windows Update team gave the heads-up through its Twitter orifice last week. Windows 10 2004 was already on its last gasp, have had support terminated in December. 20H2, on the other hand, should be good to go until May this year.

    Continue reading
  • Throw away your Ethernet cables* because MediaTek says Wi-Fi 7 will replace them

    *Don't do this

    MediaTek claims to have given the world's first live demo of Wi-Fi 7, and said that the upcoming wireless technology will be able to challenge wired Ethernet for high-bandwidth applications, once available.

    The fabless Taiwanese chip firm said it is currently showcasing two Wi-Fi 7 demos to key customers and industry collaborators, in order to demonstrate the technology's super-fast speeds and low latency transmission.

    Based on the IEEE 802.11be standard, the draft version of which was published last year, Wi-Fi 7 is expected to provide speeds several times faster than Wi-Fi 6 kit, offering connections of at least 30Gbps and possibly up to 40Gbps.

    Continue reading
  • Windows box won't boot? SystemRescue 9 may help

    An ISO image you can burn or drop onto a USB key

    The latest version of an old friend of the jobbing support bod has delivered a new kernel to help with fixing Microsoft's finest.

    It used to be called the System Rescue CD, but who uses CDs any more? Enter SystemRescue, an ISO image that you can burn, or just drop onto your Ventoy USB key, and which may help you to fix a borked Windows box. Or a borked Linux box, come to that.

    SystemRescue 9 includes Linux kernel 5.15 and a minimal Xfce 4.16 desktop (which isn't loaded by default). There is a modest selection of GUI tools: Firefox, VNC and RDP clients and servers, and various connectivity tools – SSH, FTP, IRC. There's also some security-related stuff such as Yubikey setup, KeePass, token management, and so on. The main course is a bunch of the usual Linux tools for partitioning, formatting, copying, and imaging disks. You can check SMART status, mount LVM volumes, rsync files, and other handy stuff.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022