Japan Announces it Will Fire a Bomb Into an Asteroid 300 Million Kilometers Away

The Japanese Space agency wants to detonate a projectile on the asteroid surface and hopefully mine some of its subsurface fragments.


In February of 2018, the Hayabusa2 probe from the Japanese Aerospace Agency (JAXA) landed on the surface of an asteroid located more than 300 Million kilometers away.

As it did, it fired a small projectile into the asteroid and collected dust and surface soil samples from it.

The impactor mission went according to plan, and the spacecraft is already back in orbit around Ryugu again.

Now, JAXA has revealed that the spacecraft is set to return and create an even bigger boom.

The stages of the Hayabusa2 space mission. Image Credit: AFP / Jean Michel CORNU
The stages of the Hayabusa2 space mission. Image Credit: AFP / Jean Michel CORNU

Next month, the spacecraft will drop a bomb on the asteroid surface and hopefully mine some of the fragments released from the explosion, reports the Japanese Times.

The spacecraft will attempt to not only bomb the asteroid located more than 300 Million kilometers away from Earth, but to eventually land in the crater it created, and collect some of its subsurface samples.

According to reports, Hayabusa2 will launch the impactor at the asteroid at nearly two kilometers per second.

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The impact is expected to create a 10-meter-wide crater on the surface.

The spacecraft is expected to move to the other side of the asteroid in order to avoid being hit by fragments for the blast.

Nonetheless, the entire explosion on the asteroid’s surface is expected to be filmed by cameras mounted on the spacecraft.

If everything goes according to plan, Hayabusa2 will descend into the newly-formed crater and collect subsurface samples from the asteroid that have remained untouched by the sun and cosmic rays.

“It will be very challenging,” JAXA engineer Takanao Saeki told the Associated Press.