The SCI is a 4.4-pound cluster of copper that will be fired at asteroid Ryugu at a super-high speed of 4,474 miles per hour.
Hayabusa2 will move away from the area to avoid being damaged by debris from the explosion or the collision with Ryugu.
A Japanese probe began descending towards an asteroid on Thursday, April 4, on a mission to blast a crater into its surface and collect material that could shed light on the solar system's evolution.
In February, Hayabusa2 briefly landed on Ryugu and fired a tantalum pellet into the surface that likely knocked about 10 grams of rock fragments into a collection horn.
Hayabusa2 released the SCI about 500 meters (1,640 feet) above Ryugu's surface around 11:13 a.m.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said that Hayabusa2 dropped a "small carry-on impactor" made of copper onto the asteroid Friday morning, and that data confirmed the spacecraft safely evacuated and remained intact.
If successful, it would be the first time for a spacecraft to take such materials.Читайте также: Debris from anti-satellite test no danger to ISS, India says
Shards of rock ejected from the impact site were caught on camera, but JAXA has said that it will only be able to confirm whether an artificial crater has been successfully created later in April after the probe has manoeuvred back to the site to make extensive observations.
"We are thrilled to see what will happen when the impactor collides with the asteroid", Takashi Kubota, engineering researcher at the Japanese space agency (JAXA), told reporters earlier this week.
Kubota said the probe's use of explosives and its "acrobatic" evasive maneuvers were "unprecedented" and he hoped the mission would give scientists a rare peek inside an asteroid. The samples might also provide evidence for the theory that asteroids and comets are one source of Earth's water and its amino acids, the building blocks of life. A similar "deep impact" mission by NASA that was launched in 2005, only observed debris.
If all goes well, Hayabusa2 will take a closer look at the crater itself to study the interior of the asteroid, where radiation hasn't affected the rock. NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission aims to slam an impactor into a moon of the asteroid Didymos in 2022, to better understand how humanity could deflect potentially risky space rocks headed toward Earth.
"But we still have more missions to achieve and it's too early for us to celebrate with 'banzai'".
The asteroid, named Ryugu after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale, is about 300 million kilometres from Earth.
That sample is scheduled to come down under parachute in December 2020, in a special return capsule.При любом использовании материалов сайта и дочерних проектов, гиперссылка на обязательна.
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