Japan's "Hayabusa-2" spacecraft successfully touched down on asteroid Ryugu twice, in February and July of 2019. In its second touchdown, it attempted the first-ever collection of sub-surface samples from an asteroid, which are now eagerly awaited back here on Earth. The lessons learned from its forerunner, the original Hayabusa mission, and improvements to the ion engine and touchdown navigation system have helped keep the current mission running smoothly. It has even deployed robotic rovers to the surface of Ryugu that have sent us photos of the asteroid. In this episode, we'll take an in-depth look and even get some recent news about the historic Hayabusa-2 mission.
[Science News Watch] Hayabusa-2 Asteroid Samples to Land in Australian Desert
[J-Innovators] Recovering Energy from Polystyrene Waste
MINERVA-II robotic asteroid rovers
[J-Innovators] A machine to compress expanded polystyrene into burnable pellets