back to article Japan's asteroid-hunting robot Hayabusa2 has its prey within its sights

Boffins at Japan’s space agency, JAXA, announced Thursday that their asteroid sampling mission Hayabusa2 was within sight of its target, Ryugu, with arrival scheduled within the month. The probe is now 2,100km from its prey, and it is expected to arrive on 27 June, using optical navigation. Engineers have also turned off …

  1. Chris G Silver badge


    When I saw the headline I thought this would be about a large fast motorcycle but a probe called Peregrine Falcon is even cooler.

    I can only wish this mission total success, it may be ambitious but what a coup if it brings back even more asteroid samples and gets to shoot one.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why copper?

    I seem to recall that comet impactor was also copper. Is there some advantage using copper over some other substance? I assume it has to do with spectrography. Would any pure metallic element suffice?

  3. Barely registers

    Re: Why copper?

    From the NASA Deep Impact mission's web page at:

    Spectroscopy, yes, but also because "engineering". My assumption is that these reasons apply to Hayabusa2 too.

    <quote>Copper was chosen because it will cause the least interference with the measurements that will be made during the impact, will not leave a residue that would confuse potential future measurements, and can be made into a structurally strong impactor. In particular, all the inner shells of electrons for copper are completely filled. This means that it reacts very slowly with other elements, such as with the oxygen in cometary water, and it will end up producing relatively few bright emission lines in the spectrum of the vaporized materials. Other materials such as aluminum would produce far more and stronger emission lines (mostly due to aluminum oxides). There are only a few materials that satisfy this criterion and copper is the least expensive of them that is structurally sound. The material used to make the impactor is actually a copper alloy with about 3% beryllium to make the copper more stiff.</quote>

  4. lglethal Silver badge

    Just for Info

    There is also another instrument on board called Mascot (developed by a mate of mine at DLR Bremen) which will be delivered to the surface by Hayabusa 2. It carries an infrared spectrometer, a magnetometer, a radiometer and a camera and will bounce its way around Ryugu taking measurements.

    Good work the whole Hayabusa team! Fingers crossed for a safe landing...

  5. phuzz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The first Hayabusa might have had a lot of failures, but the mission control team did an amazing job of keeping it limping on and managed to return some data.

    Hopefully this one is more reliable and can do All The Science!

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      The first Hayabusa might have had a lot of failures

      Mainly due to riders falling off because they didn't realise how fast it could accelerate..

      Oh - not the motorbike?

      As you were..

      (And they were copper-coloured too. With somewhat 'individualistic' styling. But no-one cared because they were fast with a capital F (and brown-trouser moment..))

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