Credit: Akihiro Ikeshita

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft is ready to create an artificial crater on the surface of asteroid Ryugu.

On April 5 (JST), the Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) — a 4.4 pound (2 kilogram) copper lump called “Liner” will be dropped to the surface of the asteroid at a velocity of 2 km per second to make an artificial crater.

SCI pyrotechnics – A conical shape structure filled with explosives. The “Liner” will be ejected forward at a high speed by explosive power.
Credit: JAXA

The intent is to collect information about the interior of the asteroid by examining crater formation and the artificially generated crater.

Credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST

Deployable camera

The SCI impact experiment will be observed by a Deployable CAMera 3-D at a distance of roughly one kilometer from the impact point, and the time evolution of the ejecta curtain will be observed by this camera to confirm the impact point on the asteroid’s surface.

Credit: JAXA

After SCI separation, an onboard timer triggers the explosion. Meanwhile, Hayabusa-2 is to maneuver away from the space rock, spending more than two weeks away from the asteroid, positioning itself at a safe distance to avoid ejecta floating around the asteroid.

Credit: JAXA




Subsurface sampling

According to Hayabusa2 officials, at a later date, touchdown at or around the generated crater will be attempted as will possible collection of the subsurface material.

However, if the condition of the surface of Ryugu is dangerous for touchdown, the touchdown will not be attempted.


















To watch the fireworks, tune into the Hayabusa2 Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) control room via live broadcast:




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