The small capsule, only 40 centimeters in diameter, detached from the probe at an altitude of 220,000 kilometers, entered the Earth’s atmosphere at an altitude of 120 kilometers and opened a parachute at an altitude of ten kilometers, while the probe itself, called “Falcon” in Japanese, it was redirected on a new mission to another distant asteroid.
Capsule lowering surgery required extreme precision. JAXA has deployed several satellite dishes in the expected landing area to receive its signals and will use radar, drones and helicopters to search.
The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014, in 2018 the probe entered the asteroid Ryugu’s orbit, landed a container with all-terrain vehicles and various robotic devices, but later knocked out a crater on the asteroid’s surface with a special charge to obtain intact rock samples. Scientists hope that these samples, taken below the surface of the asteroid, will provide insight into the evolution of the solar system.
The asteroid is named Ryukū, which in an ancient Japanese fairy tale is on the ocean floor of a dragon castle.
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