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  JAXA's Hayabusa 2 mission to asteroid Ryugu

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Author Topic:   JAXA's Hayabusa 2 mission to asteroid Ryugu
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 39576
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-25-2013 10:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JAXA's Hayabusa 2 asteroid explorer mission

The Asteroid Explorer Hayabusa 2 is the successor to Hayabusa (MUSES-C). Its mission is to explore one of the C-type asteroids in the universe, retrieve materials and bring them to Earth. The rock of C-type asteroids is considered to contain organic matter and water. Hayabusa 2 explores the mystery of the origin of the sea water and the life on the earth in addition to the mystery of the earth's formation.

While Hayabusa recorded a number of world's first achievements, Hayabusa 2 will enhance the reliability of exploration technologies. At the same time, Hayabusa 2 will challenge to obtain new technologies such as creation of artificial craters, high-speed communications in deep space, and new observation instruments.

In the current plan, the launch window for Hayabusa 2 is in 2014. With this schedule, Hayabusa 2 would reach the asteroid in the middle of 2018, and return to the Earth at the end of 2020.

Target body to be explored

As of now, the candidate target asteroid of Hayabusa 2 is called 1999 JU3. Asteroid 1999 JU3 is one of the Near Earth Objects (NEO) that come close to the Earth's orbit. This asteroid is about 900 meters in size and its rotation period is about 7.6 hours. The albedo of the surface is low, estimated about 0.06, and its approximate shape and spin axis inclination have been estimated.

While the asteroid Itokawa explored by Hayabusa is an S-type asteroid, 1999 JU3 is classified as a C-type asteroid. An asteroid is considered to have information about the birth of the solar system and its later evolution.

For a large celestial body such as Earth, its original materials were melted once, and consequently there is no way to reach the history before melting. On the other hand, most of hundreds of thousands asteroids and comets which we found at this point preserve history of the place and era of their birth within the solar system.

Exploring such celestial bodies brings us an opportunity to know how the solar system was born and formed, and how the original materials of life on Earth were created and evolved in space.

Mission

After arriving at the target asteroid, Hayabusa 2 will observe using a variety of remote-sensing instruments, small lander and rover.

Hayabusa 2 is planning to carry the German/French lander on board through the international cooperation as well as Japanese rovers. They will be released from Hayabusa 2 and will land on the asteroid, then perform observations of the surface of asteroid in detail. The Hayabusa 2 will then touch down and collect samples from asteroid surface.

Furthermore, an impactor which is newly developed, Hayabusa 2 will create an artificial crater by the impactor and will collect samples from the crater, which means that we can obtain the subsurface material of asteroid.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39576
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-30-2014 06:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hayabusa 2 set to launch to asteroid

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have scheduled the launch of the asteroid explorer Hayabusa 2 for Tuesday (Dec. 2) at 11:22 p.m. EST (0422 GMT, 1:22 pm local time Dec. 3) atop the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.

The launch had previously been scheduled for Nov. 30 but was delayed twice due to predicted strong winds at the launch site. The launch may be delayed further depending on weather conditions and other factors.

Hayabusa 2 is slated to arrive at asteroid 1993 JU3 in mid-2018 to collect samples before returning to Earth in 2020.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39576
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-03-2014 03:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hayabusa 2 launches to asteroid 1993 JU3

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries launched the Hayabusa 2 asteroid sample mission on Tuesday (Dec. 22) at 11:22 p.m. EST (0422 GMT Dec. 3) atop a H-2A rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.

"The launch vehicle flew as planned, and at approximately one hour, 47 minutes and 21 seconds after liftoff, separation of the Hayabusa 2 to earth-escape trajectory was confirmed," JAXA reported.

The asteroid explorer is a successor to the original Hayabusa, which returned to Earth samples from asteroid Itokawa in 2010. Hayabusa 2's scientific mission to asteroid 1993 JU3 is to help clarify the origin and evolution of the solar system, as well as the building blocks of life.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39576
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-04-2018 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JAXA release
Completion of forward cruise ion engine operation

Since January 10 this year (2018), the third phase of the ion engine operation has been underway. This was completed this week on June 3, ending the use of the ion engines for the outward approach towards asteroid Ryugu.

During the operation on June 3, Hayabusa2's velocity was confirmed via Doppler data (the shift in radio wave frequency corresponding to the speed of the spacecraft along the line-of-sight from Earth) and the decision was made to stop ion engine operation at 14:59 JST at machine time (the time recorded by Hayabusa2's on-board clock). The telemetry data from the spacecraft received at 15:16 confirmed that ion engine operation has ended normally.

In this third phase of ion operation, the continuous operation time was about 2,426 hours, producing a velocity increase of 393 m/s (hourly speed of 1,400 km/hr).

From here on, accurate orbital determination of both the spacecraft and the asteroid will be made via radio and optical navigation as Hayabusa2 approaches Ryugu.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39576
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-14-2018 08:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JAXA release
Ryugu seen from a distance of 920km

Hayabusa2 is steadily approaching asteroid Ryugu.

Figure 1 shows a photograph of Ryugu taken on June 13, 2018 with the ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic) from a distance of about 920km. The celestial body shining brightly in the center of the frame is Ryugu. The movement of Ryugu (in comparison to the background stars) can be seen by comparing this image with those taken on June 6 and June 10. The brightness of Ryugu is now about -6.6 mag (astronomical magnitude: a logarithmic scale for the apparent brightness for an object).

Figure 2 shows the photograph taken with an exposure time of about 0.09 seconds. The part of the image that covers Ryugu is now about 10 pixels in diameter. We are describing the shape seen so far as a "dango"-type, as it looks like the round dango Japanese sweet dumpling made from rice flour (they taste delicious and we can recommend trying one). However, the shape does seem a little more angular.

These images were taken on June 13th, the same day that Hayabusa returned to Earth eight years ago. Just eight years later, Hayabusa2 is less than 1000 km from asteroid Ryugu. We are looking forward to seeing what developments come next!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39576
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-19-2018 07:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JAXA release
Ryugu seen from 330-240km

The ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera - Telescopic) captured images of Ryugu on June 17, 2018 at around 15:00 JST and June 18 at around 06:00 JST. At 15:00 JST on June 17, the distance to Ryugu was approximately 330 km, which had decreased to 240 km by June 18 at 06:00 JST.

The following figures show the original images taken by the ONC-T, without any pixel smoothing. The order of the photographs is not chronological, but show the sequential rotation of the asteroid. The change in distance is compensated by keeping the size of the asteroid constant through the image set.

This next image set is the same as the previous photographs, but with the pixels smoothed and G image processing applied which emphasizes light and dark regions.

Comment by Project Scientist, Sei-ichiro Watanbe

The vertical direction in these images is tilted by 10 degrees counterclockwise compared to the vertical direction of the orbital plane of Ryugu. From looking between the multiple images in this set, you can see that the vertical direction is nearly perpendicular to the plane of revolution of the asteroid. We call this direction the asteroid's axis of rotation. The direction of the rotation is reversed compared to the Earth, with a rotation period of about 7.5 hours.

The diameter of Ryugu is about 900m, which is consistent with the prediction from ground observations. However, since the distance between the spacecraft and Ryugu is not precisely determined, there is still some uncertainty in the exact diameter at this time.

The shape of the asteroid looks like a spinning top (called a "Coma" in Japanese), with the equatorial part wider than the poles. This form is seen in many small asteroids that are rotating at high speed. Observed by radar from the ground, asteroid Bennu (the destination of the US mission, OSIRIS-REx), asteroid Didymous (the target of the US DART project), and asteroid 2008 EV5 that is approaching the Earth, all have a similar shape.

On the surface of asteroid Ryugu, you can see a number of crater-like round recessed landforms. In the first image, one large example can be seen with a diameter exceeding 200m. This moves to the left and darkens as the asteroid rotates and the lower part becomes cast in shadows.

The bulge at the equator forms a ridge around the asteroid like a mountain range. Outside this, the surface topology appears very ridge-shaped and rock-like bulges are also seen. These details should become clearer as the resolution increases in the future.

Comment by Mission Manager, Makoto Yoshikawa

When I saw these images, I was surprised that Ryugu is very similar in shape to both the destination of the US OSIRIS-REx mission, asteroid Bennu, and also the target of the previously proposed MarcoPolo-R mission by Europe, asteroid 2008 EV5. Bennu and 2008 EV5 are about half the diameter (and 1/8 the volume) of Ryugu, with rotation periods about half as long. In other words, these celestial bodies are small and rotating fast compared to Ryugu.

On the other hand, Bennu is a B-type asteroid, which is very similar to C-type asteroids such as 2009 EV5 and Ryugu. Therefore there should also be common properties due to the asteroid type. So we have both differences and similarities that have combined to produce very similar shapes... why is that? I think this is very interesting. So far, the asteroids we have explored have been different in shape, so Ryugu and Bennu could be the first time two similar-shaped asteroids have been examined. It will be interesting to clarify exactly what this similarity means scientifically.

If the axis of rotation for Ryugu is close to the vertical direction in this image, there is a big advantage as it will be possible to know almost the entire appearance of Ryugu at an early stage after arrival. This makes the project planning easier. However, it is also possible that potential landing sites may be limited to the equator of Ryugu. I hope we can find a suitable place to set down the lander and rovers.

See here for discussion of JAXA's Hayabusa 2 mission to asteroid Ryugu.

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