The capsule with soil collected by the Hayabusa-2 space probe on the asteroid Ryugu was found after a safe landing in the desert in southern Australia, according to the probe’s Twitter page.
“We found the capsule! Together with a parachute! Wow!” – the message says.
The capsule was found at the planned landing site as a result of a helicopter search.
The capsule delivered to Earth samples of soil collected from the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. One of the most challenging tasks for scientists was the accuracy of the angle at which the capsule will collide with the Earth. Another difficult stage could be parachuting the capsule at an altitude of 11 to 7 kilometers from the Earth’s surface.
The capsule will be placed in a so-called “clean room” in order to analyze the gases in the capsule and exclude the entry of gases of terrestrial origin.
On Saturday, the capsule was successfully separated from the Hayabusa-2 probe at an altitude of 223 thousand kilometers from the Earth and began to descend to the planet’s surface. The probe itself, at a distance of 210 thousand kilometers from the Earth, changed its trajectory and headed for its next mission – observation of the asteroid 1998KY26. An asteroid with a diameter of 30 meters orbits between the orbits of the Earth and Mars and is similar in composition to Ryuga. Unlike the mission to Ryugu, there are no plans to land vehicles on its surface.
The Hayabusa-2 space probe has successfully landed twice on the surface of the asteroid to collect soil and dust samples. The probe managed to “shoot” a projectile into the surface of the asteroid Ryugu with the help of an explosive device and create the world’s first artificial crater on the surface of the asteroid. This made it possible to take dust and soil lying deeper than the surface of a space body.
Scientists believe that it is the samples of the rock obtained from the bowels of the asteroid, which to a greater extent preserve the properties of matter from the times of the emergence of the solar system, will allow mankind to come closer to solving its formation and the appearance of life. Scientists also found out that Ryugu has water-containing minerals with elements of oxygen and hydrogen, which was an event in the history of human space exploration.
The Hayabusa 2 space probe was launched to the asteroid Ryugu in 2014. Ryugu is 340 million kilometers from Earth. Its diameter is about 900 meters. Scientists believe that elements found in Ryugu soil will help uncover the mystery of the origin of water and organic elements on Earth.