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Japan Space

Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Probe Postponed By Weather Until Early December 24

As reported by The Register, Japan's Hayabusa 2 mission to mine (or at least sample) an asteroid, which was to have been launched Saturday, has been delayed by weather, until a time no earlier than Monday, Dec. 1st (and from JAXA's web site, it appears that Dec. 3rd is the current target): If all goes to plan, the space probe will lift off next month and fly out to asteroid 1999JU3 by mid-2018 using ion engines. The craft will orbit the rock before dropping a bomb onto the surface. The resulting blast should leave a hole [in] the asteroid. The probe will then land and dig around in the rubble for material from below the surface using a "sampler horn". The probe will then take off again and head for home carrying its booty, and is due to return in 2020 or slightly later.
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Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Probe Postponed By Weather Until Early December

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  • A 4-day delay on a 6-year mission? Not even worth it anymore, just scrap the thing. Asteroids will be old news 4 days after the original return date.
  • The first Hayabusa [wikipedia.org] mission, also by the Japanese space agency, successfully returned a small amount of material taken from the surface of a comet. Blasting to extract some more material seems likely to add additional scientific data, while building on technology and a mission profile that has already been successfully used once.

    • by Trepidity ( 597 )

      Whoops, I mis-typed: of course, it was from the surface of an asteroid, not comet. Same as with this mission.

      There has actually been one sample-return mission to a comet, NASA's Stardust [wikipedia.org], but it didn't land on it.

  • by spiritplumber ( 1944222 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @07:06AM (#48490091) Homepage
    So you could call it an ion-engine bomber? (And now I'm off to try to recreate this mission in KSP).
  • Best of luck (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Sunday November 30, 2014 @08:27AM (#48490249)
    At least more luck than Akatsuki, missed Venus orbit [wikipedia.org], and Nozomi, missed Mars orbit. [wikipedia.org]
    • by Anonymous Coward

      At least Akatsuki will get a second try at Vevus capture.

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