Japan space explorer arrives at asteroid - 170 million miles from Earth

Artist concept of Haybusa2 approaching asteroid 162173 Ryugu

Hayabusa 2 will spend about a year and a half surveying the 900m-wide space rock, which is about 290 million km (180 million miles) from Earth. The Japanese space explorer that will try to blow a crater in an asteroid and bring back samples from inside is nearing its destination after a 3 1/2 -year journey.

At the end of 2019 Hayabusa-2 needs to go back to Earth.

In fact, Japanese scientists are convinced that the 900-meter-wide (3,000 feet) asteroid, made up of leftover material from when our planets were first created, is chock-full of chemical compounds that may have ignited the spark of life on Earth.

"First of all, the rotation axis of the asteroid is perpendicular to the orbit", he said.

In order to collect samples from underneath the asteroid's surface, the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft will be blasting Ryugu with a two-kilogram (four-pound) copper projectile sometime before the final landing. In General, this operation is scheduled three times.

During this time, it will aim to deploy several landing craft to the surface, including small rovers and a German-built instrument package called Mascot (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout).

Hayabusa Two's approach has also allowed Jaxa to determine the asteroid's orbit is retrograde, meaning it spins in the opposite direction to the Sun and the Earth.

From this crater, the probe will collect "fresh" materials unexposed to millennia of wind and radiation, hoping for answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth.

France's Macron brings back national service
Both boys and girls will be required to take part, and the service will have two phases, one mandatory and the second optional. The same YouGov poll showed that 18-24-year-olds opposed the idea by a margin of 62% to 28% (with the remaining 10% unsure).

Here's what LeBron James' free-agency means for Houston
Rumors about multiple teams being in the hunt for the three-time National Basketball Association champion have already started. Despite the loss, James extended his streak of Finals appearances to an unprecedented nine straight years.

Trump softens trade stance toward China and raises optimism
Trump announced 25 per cent import tariffs on hundreds of Chinese products to pressure the country to alter its practices. CFIUS has already been more aggressive under Trump, especially on China.

The successful mission came just days before the UN's International Asteroid Day on June 30, a global event to raise awareness about the hazards of an asteroid impact and technological progress to counter such a threat.

Launched in December 2014, the unmanned Hayabusa 2 spacecraft has now settled into an observational point almost 20 kilometers (12 miles) above the asteroid's surface, from where it will begin its scientific mission in about two months' time.

That probe returned from a smaller, potato-shaped, asteroid in 2010 with dust samples despite various setbacks during its epic seven-year odyssey and was hailed as a scientific triumph.

"From a distance, Ryugu initially appeared round, then gradually turned into a square before becoming a attractive shape similar to fluorite - known as the "firefly stone" in Japanese", the space agency said in a statement.

"We have confirmed the arrival of Hayabusa2 at the Ryugu asteroid", JAXA said in a statement. The image was taken in the distance of about 40 kilometers (25 miles) between the explorer and the asteroid.

"In other words, arriving at Ryugu is the same as aiming at a 6-centimeter target in Brazil from Japan", the agency said.

This image taken on June 24, 2018 and provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows asteroid of Ryugu that asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 was expected to reach as its target.

In this August 31, 2014, photo, asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 is displayed to media by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) at its facility in Sagamihara, near Tokyo.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Samsung Galaxy Note 9 - Release Date Officially Confirmed
Jun 30, 2018 - 23:26
The new stylus will include Bluetooth support and the option to unlock the handset remotely, with a press of a button. However, the biggest change could be found on the S Pen since it's also the main focus in their official teaser .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump renews attack on OPEC, says oil prices too high
Jun 30, 2018 - 23:18
Since early 2017, OPEC and other oil-producing countries have agreed to reduce supply in a bid to bolster oil prices. In the United States, output has risen by nearly a third in the last two years, to a record of 10.8 million bpd.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump and Putin Will Meet in Helsinki for Their First Bilateral Summit
Jun 30, 2018 - 23:17
They followed it up with a dinner chat Nov 11, 2017: Trump met Putin on the sidelines of an APEC meeting held in Vietnam. He said, "getting along with Russian Federation and with China and with everybody is a very good thing ".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Canada strikes back at USA steel and aluminium tariffs
Jun 30, 2018 - 22:50
Trump started applying freakish restrictions, tariffs under the guise of national security, which is, of course, ludicrous". Deron Bilous, Alberta's Minister of Economic Development and Trade, said Ottawa is on the right track.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Japan survives despite loss to Poland
Jun 30, 2018 - 22:36
It was not pretty, but Japan did what was necessary to survive at the World Cup . "We haven't qualified because of fair play".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Plans To Announce Supreme Court Pick July 9
Jun 30, 2018 - 22:30
Reproductive rights experts say numerous recent state laws are so extreme that they could set up a showdown over Roe v. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring after more than 30 years on the court.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Angelina Jolie Channels Meghan Markle At Royal Event
Jun 30, 2018 - 22:18
Surprisingly, this appearance of hers went in the opposite direction with an unlikely soft, sophisticated appeal. The Oscar victor was made an honorary dame by Queen Elizabeth in 2014 in recognition of her humanitarian work.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Triple H opens WWE Performance Center doors to Toys R Us mascot
Jun 30, 2018 - 22:14
Her photo of Geoffrey the Giraffe leaving got the most attention, receiving almost 300,000 shares on Facebook. Johnpiere posted several other sad photos of the empty store on Facebook.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Suspect in Maryland newspaper to appear in court on 5 murder charges
Jun 30, 2018 - 21:58
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said he was so proud of the journalists who had "soldiered on". "They don't make a lot of money". Investigators were said to be looking into "violent" threats that had been made against the Capital Gazette via social media.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand calls for end of ICE
Jun 30, 2018 - 21:58
Next it will be all police. "We're calling out the state of OR for allowing ICE ... to operate within our borders", Sinclair said .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Main opposition candidate Ince accepts results of Erdogan's victory
Jun 30, 2018 - 21:57
Polling stations closed at 5 p.m. and people anxiously refreshed their phones and found TVs to watch the incoming totals. In his victory speech on Sunday, Erdogan asserted that his government would "rush" to deliver on his campaign promises.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump says he will announce Supreme Court pick on July 9
Jun 30, 2018 - 21:48
Wade , the landmark case establishing the right to abortion access, was "doomed". "I've got it narrowed to about five", Mr. Trump said during an Air Force One flight to New Jersey where he'll spend the weekend at one of his golf clubs.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top A Florida marketing firm just exposed the details of millions of people
Jun 30, 2018 - 21:29
The data leak is noteworthy not only for its breadth, but also for the depth of information the records have on people. According to Wired , a security researcher stumbled upon an Exactis database that was wide open to the internet.

Oil jumps as market anticipates US sanctions on Iran
Jun 30, 2018 - 20:30
However, the push appears to have already faced resistance by Iran's major oil clients such as India and Turkey. South Korea accounted for 14 percent of Iran's oil exports past year , according to the US Energy Department.

Bali volcano eruption halts some flights, including from Singapore
Jun 29, 2018 - 07:32
The early morning closure of Ngurah Rai airport sparked the cancellation of almost 450 flights to and from the tropical paradise. The airline says flight NZ245 from Auckland to Bali, due to depart today, has been cancelled as a result of volcanic activity.