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2019-04-05. A Japanese spacecraft may have just blown a crater in a distant asteroid.

posted Apr 6, 2019, 9:26 AM by Alan Gould
By Dennis Normile, Science Magazine. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/04/japanese-spacecraft-may-have-just-blown-crater-distant-asteroid] For GSS A Changing Cosmos chapter 7. Excerpt: Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission continued its unprecedented explorations today by apparently creating an artificial crater in an asteroid, a space exploration first. Officials confirmed that the operation to fire a projectile into asteroid Ryugu went smoothly, though as of early evening Japan time they were still trying to confirm whether a crater had actually been formed. ...Developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, Hayabusa2 was launched in December 2014 and traveled 3.2 billion kilometers through space before reaching its home position 20 kilometers away from Ryugu, a diamond-shaped asteroid about 1 kilometer by 900 meters in size orbiting between Earth and Mars. The mission’s objective is to collect samples both from Ryugu’s surface and its interior and return them to Earth for analyses that should yield information on the materials that existed in the early solar system and give clues about the formation and evolution of planets. The samples might also provide evidence for the theory that asteroids and comets are one source of Earth’s water and its amino acids, the building blocks of life. Scientists are particularly eager to get material from beneath the surface that has not been affected by eons of space weathering. In February, Hayabusa2 briefly landed on Ryugu and fired a tantalum pellet into the surface that likely knocked about 10 grams of rock fragments into a collection horn....