On Wednesday, Japan took a step towards learning more about the origins of earth by launching a space explorer designed to blow a hole in an asteroid. The round-trip is planned to last six years and land on the distant asteroid in 2018. There, after it blows a hole in the asteroid, it will collect samples and spend 18 months before it heads back and returns to our planet in 2020, according to an article by the AP, The Big Story.
Scientists in Japan hope to discover clues about Earth’s origins by studying the samples and data the space explorer collects on the mission. The spacecraft, named Hayabusa2, has two sets of solar panels projecting from its rectangular body.
Tanegashima Space Center was where Hayabusa2 blasted forth on its long voyage from Japan to the asteroid. Hayabusa2 has a lot of features packed into its body, weighing in at 1,300 pounds.
By blowing a hole into the asteroid, the researchers plan to collect material from the interior of it and determine what it is composed of. The information could led to a better knowledge of how planets, like our own, formed and evolved over time.
Also, Hayabusa2 is expected to collect data that will help scientists determine the origin of seawater, according to the AP article. More information will follow as this news story further develops.
Written By Douglas Cobb
AP The Big Story
Photo by ネコビデオ ビジュアル ソリュ – Flickr License