29 April 2015
No Writer Credit
Hayabusa-2 dispatches European Mascot lander
ESA is set to support Japan’s ‘touch-and-go’ Hayabusa-2 spacecraft, now en route to a little-known asteroid, helping to boost the scientific return from this audacious mission.
A flawless launch last December marked the start of a six-year round-trip for Japan’s Hayabusa-2, which is on course to arrive at the carbon-rich asteroid 1999 JU3 in June 2018.
Once there, it will study the surface in detail in preparation for dispatching three diminutive landing drones. It will also deliver the Mascot lander, developed by the DLR German Aerospace Center in cooperation with France’s CNES space agency and equipped with a ‘hopper’ mechanism to enable it to explore the tiny world from multiple locations.
Hayabusa will also use explosives to fire a copper impactor into the 980 m-diameter asteroid, then scoop up the debris fragments in…
View original post 460 more words