About Hayabusa 2 Mission:
- It is a Japanese spacecraft that studied the asteroid Ryugu, collected samples, and brought them to Earth for analysis.
- It was the first to deploy rovers to operate on an asteroid.
- Mission Objectives:
- To clarify the origin and evolution of the Solar System, including the beginnings of life.
- To establish deep space exploration technology by taking on new challenges.
- It was launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in December 2014.
- It arrived at asteroid Ryugu on June 2018, collected samples from the asteroid during two touchdowns in 2019, and delivered the sample capsule back to the Earth on December 2020.
- After delivering the capsule, the spacecraft continued on to a new mission. This new phase is referred to as the “Extended Mission”, with a new target destination of the small asteroid, 1998 KY26.
- Hayabusa2 is a follow-up to Japan’s original Hayabusa mission, which was the first spacecraft to take samples from an asteroid, and was also the first mission to successfully land and take off from an asteroid. It returned samples from asteroid 25143 Itokawa to Earth on June 13, 2010.
Q1) What is an Asteroid?
Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. Although asteroids orbit the Sun like planets, they are much smaller than planets. Most of them live in the main asteroid belt—a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.