Japan’s Hayabusa-2 space probe will leave its orbit and head for Earth after an unprecedented mission. The space probe will carry samples that could answer the origin of the solar system. The long journey home will start at 10:05 am, with the probe dropping off its previous samples in late 2020. Project manager Yuichi Tsuda said, “We expect Hayabusa-2 will provide new scientific knowledge to us”. Also, he added, the probe will bring carbon and organic matter to the Earth. This will provide data on the matter around the solar system. Also, the answers to how it is related to the Earth and why it exists on the asteroid will be available.
The mission sent the probe around 300 million kilometers from the Earth. The probe explored the asteroid Ryugu. The name translates “Dragon Palace,” referring to a castle at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient tale in Japanese. Hayabusa-2 fired an Impactor into the asteroids to explore the previously unseen matter in April. Furthermore, it collected the samples from the surface of the asteroid that will answer the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Tsuda said, “I’m feeling half sad, half determined to do our best to get the probe home.”
The probe will receive the order to break free of the asteroid gravity on November 18. It will fire its main engine to en route to Earth early next month. The mission of almost 30 billion yen exceeded the expectations of the team. However, they had to go through many technical problems. The journey of the probe towards the asteroid was almost 3 and a half years. However, Earth and Ryugu will be much closer due to their current position. Hence, it will return home in a comparatively shorter duration. Hayabusa-2 is the successor to the previous generation probe. It will continue its journey after dropping the samples to Earth. However, the team did not have a plan about the probe’s new destination after the mission.