Japan drops an explosive on asteroid Ryugu to make crater

Published: April 5, 2019

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has said that its Hayabusa2 spacecraft has successfully blasted the surface of an asteroid Ryugu to make a crater on its surface. The move will pave the way for the collection of underground samples for possible clues to the origin of the solar system. For this, the Hayabusa2 dropped a “small carry-on impactor” made of copper onto the asteroid and the spacecraft safely evacuated and remained intact. Now, JAXA is analyzing data to examine if or how the impactor made a crater. The copper explosive is the size of a baseball weighing 2 kg. If successful, it would be the first time for a spacecraft to take such materials. The asteroid, named Ryugu after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale, is about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) from Earth. Earlier, Hayabusa2 successfully touched down on a tiny flat surface on the boulder-rich asteroid in February 2019, when the spacecraft also collected some surface dust and small debris.