JAXA Current Affairs - 2019

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BepiColombo Ready for Long Cruise to Mercury

The European Space Agency (ESA) – Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s BepiColombo mission has successfully completed a series of tests and has completed its near-Earth commissioning phase.

The BepiColombo mission is now ready for the operations that will take place during the cruise and, eventually, for its scientific investigations at Mercury.

About the Mission

BepiColombo is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to the planet Mercury. The mission comprises of two satellites launched together:

  • Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO)
  • Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO)

The mission will undertake a comprehensive study of Mercury, including characterization of its magnetic field, magnetosphere, and both interior and surface structure.

Launched in October 2018, the mission is expected to arrive at Mercury in 2025. It will endure temperatures in excess of 350 °C and gather data during its 1-year nominal mission, with a possible 1-year extension.

Later next year BepiColombo will also perform the first of its two flybys of Venus — the second planned for August 2021. The flybys of Venus will provide an opportunity to operate some of the instruments on both orbiters and to collect scientifically valuable data to further study this fascinating planet while en route to the mission’s destination Mercury.

Month: Categories: Science & TechnologyUPSC

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Hayabusa2 probes Asteroid Ryugu

Japanese spacecraft, Hayabusa2 has surveyed the asteroid Ryugu’s surface and landed multiple robotic probes on its rocky terrain. The findings of the probe are:

  • Asteroid Ryugu is far drier than expected. Ryugu is quite young (by asteroid standards), at around 100 million years old, this suggests its parent body was much largely devoid of water, too.
  • Ryugu has an oblate “spinning top” shape, which suggests that the rocky body may have once spun at twice its current rate.

Hayabusa2 has completed the touchdown manoeuvre to collect samples from Ryugu’s surface, which will be brought back to Earth in a return capsule in late 2020.

Hayabusa2

Hayabusa2 is an asteroid sample-return mission of the Japanese space agency, JAXA. It is the successor of Hayabusa which had returned asteroid samples in 2010. Hayabusa2 arrived at Ryugu on 27 June 2018 and would survey the asteroid Ryugu for a year and a half during which time it will also collect samples. The mission plan is expected to depart in December 2019 and return the samples to Earth in December 2020.

Asteroid Ryugu

Asteroid Ryugu is a near-Earth object and a potentially hazardous asteroid of the Apollo group. Asteroid Ryugu is a primitive carbonaceous near-Earth asteroid. Asteroid Ryugu is expected to preserve the most pristine materials in the Solar System, a mixture of minerals, ice, and organic compounds that interact with each other. The studies of Asteroid Ryugu is expected to provide additional knowledge on the origin and evolution of the inner planets and, in particular, the origin of water and organic compounds on Earth and all relevant to the origin of life on Earth.

Month: Categories: Science & TechnologyUPSC

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