A Japanese spacecraft just blasted a new crater into an asteroid

The asteroid Ryugu

A Japanese spacecraft about 186 million miles from Earth dropped a can of explosives on an asteroid last night, excavating a crater on the rough surface. Eventually, the spacecraft will inspect the new crater, and it may even grab a sample from it, helping scientists learn more about the asteroid’s interior.

The prospecting vehicle is Hayabusa2, a spacecraft operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Launched in 2014, Hayabusa2 traveled to a near-Earth asteroid named Ryugu, and it has been hanging out around the object since last year. The spacecraft’s mission is straightforward: grab samples of material from Ryugu, and bring them back to Earth for further study. But the spacecraft is using a few unique methods to reach its…

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Source: A Japanese spacecraft just blasted a new crater into an asteroid

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