Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Current Affairs - 2019
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Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe has made a perfect touchdown on a distant asteroid named Ryugu, some 300 million kilometres from Earth. It collected samples from beneath surface in an unprecedented mission that could shed light on origins of solar system.
About Hayabusa2 Mission
Creating History: Before this touchdown by Hayabusa2 probe, a sub-surface material from a celestial body further away than moon have never been gathered. Thus Japan became 1st country to do so. Hayabusa2 also made history with the creation of the crater on Ryugu’s surface.
Objective: It is intended to collect pristine materials from beneath surface of desolate asteroid as it is believed that collected material could provide insights into what solar system was like at its birth, some 4.6 billion years ago.
Background: It is the successor to JAXA’s (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) 1st asteroid explorer called Hayabusa which is Japanese word for ‘falcon’. In 2010 Hayabusa returned with dust samples from a smaller, potato-shaped asteroid. It was also hailed as scientific triumph despite various setbacks during its epic 7-year odyssey. Then Hayabusa2 Mission was launched in December 2014, with project cost around $270 million. Hayabusa2 mission is a complex multi-year which has also involved sending rovers and robots down to the surface. It is scheduled to return to Earth with its samples in 2020.
1st Touchdown of Hayabusa2: The recent brief landing is 2nd time Hayabusa2 has touched down on desolate asteroid Ryugu. The 1st touchdown was in February 2019, when it landed briefly on asteroid Ryugu and fired a bullet into surface to puff up dust for collection just before blasting back to its holding position.
Importance of 2nd Touchdown: The 2nd Touchdown required special preparations as any problems could have meant that probe would lose precious materials already gathered during its 1st landing. It is the last major part of Hayabusa2’s mission, and when probe returns to Earth in 2020 to drop off its samples, scientists hope to learn more about history of solar system and even origin of life on Earth.
Ryugu, in in Japanese means Dragon Palace. It refers to a castle at bottom of ocean in an ancient Japanese tale.
Tags: Asteroid • Asteroid Ryugu • Dragon Palace • Hayabusa2 • Japan
SpaceX successfully launched a Dragon spacecraft on a cargo mission for NASA to International Space Station (ISS).
- This is SpaceX’s fifth launch of year. The launch was rescheduled earlier due to some electrical problem on ISS.
- It was launched on a ‘Falcon 9’ rocket, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. It is being used for first time.
- Rocket on boards an un-crewed Cargo Dragon spacecraft.
The Dragon spacecraft
- It is scheduled to reach ISS on May 6.
- It carries 2,500 kilograms of research, supplies and hardware for astronauts living and working on ISS as part of the CRS-17 mission (17th resupply mission).
- It will remain at ISS for about four weeks before coming back to Earth with more than 1,900 kg of research and return cargo.
- It has flown before on other Missions namely, CRS-12 mission in August 2017
About The International Space Station (ISS)
- It is basically an orbiting laboratory where its crew members conduct experiments in fields of biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology,etc.
- It is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit (LEO).
- Launched into orbit for first time in 1998, it is now largest human-made body in LEO.
- Primary partners on project are USA’s NASA, Russia’s Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (Roscosmos), EU’s European Space Agency (ESA), Canadian Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).