Back in February, Japan’s second asteroid-exploring spacecraft touched down on the asteroid Ryugu to collect samples that it will bring back to Earth. Tonight, Hayabusa2 is making its final sample collection attempt, where it will try to collect material that was exposed by a crater it created with explosives back in April. It will once again try to quickly land, fire a tantalum bullet into the asteroid’s surface and grab some of the dust that gets kicked up — all in about one second.
Assuming all goes well, the plan is to eventually deploy a second Minerva 2 rover, and then begin its year-long journey back to Earth around November or December.
We won’t have video of the events from Ryugu to watch live, but there is a feed from mission control where you can see their reaction as it all goes down starting at 8:30 PM ET.
[PPTD] Material from the press briefing yesterday (July 9) is now available on our website.
— HAYABUSA2@JAXA (@haya2e_jaxa) July 10, 2019