Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Japanese spacecraft to search for clues of Earth's first life

Date:
August 29, 2012
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
The Japanese space agency JAXA plans to land a spacecraft onto an asteroid in 2018 to search for clues of how life began on Earth.

In a Physics World special report on Japan, Dennis Normile reports on how the Japanese space agency JAXA plans to land a spacecraft onto an asteroid in 2018 to search for clues of how life began on Earth.

Related Articles


Hayabusa 2 will be JAXA's second attempt at collecting material from an asteroid, after its first mission returned to Earth in June 2010. Hayabusa 2 will be launched in 2014 with a view to settling on the targeted asteroid, named 1999 JU3, in mid-2018 before arriving back on Earth in 2020.

As soon as Hayabusa 2 safely reaches its destination it will fire fingertip-sized bullets into the surface of the asteroid at speeds of 300 m s and collect the rebounded fragments. After moving to a safe distance away, it will then detonate an impactor module, which will fire a 2 kg projectile into the asteroid to create a 2 m crater.

Hayabusa 2 will then return to the crater to collect samples that, as Normile writes, will not have been exposed to space weather and solar radiation before and will therefore have been created in the very early days of the solar system.

It is thought that the asteroid's distance from the Sun will mean a better environment for preserving water and amino acids, which may add weight to the theory that asteroids and comets helped bring life to Earth.

JAXA's first mission, Hayabusa, overcame engine failures, fuel loss and communication blackouts to finally return to Earth after successfully landing on the asteroid Itokawa. Tens of thousands of people in Japan watched the spacecraft re-enter Earth's atmosphere via Internet streaming and more than 100,000 people queued at several venues around the country to catch a glimpse of the capsule when it went on display.

A malfunction during the original mission meant that bullets could not be fired to collect samples; however, specks of dust from the asteroid were caught in the collection canister, meaning some material was returned for analysis.

Shogo Tachibana, a cosmological chemist at Hokkaido University who is principal investigator for sampling for Hayabusa 2, hopes the material from the second mission will be free of contamination and therefore give a clearer insight into the early days of the solar system, unlike samples of meteorites that have crashed to Earth in the past.

This article is part of a special focus issue of Physics World that draws together a selection of Physics World's recent articles about physics in Japan.

For more information, visit: http://physicsworld.com


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "Japanese spacecraft to search for clues of Earth's first life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829195217.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2012, August 29). Japanese spacecraft to search for clues of Earth's first life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829195217.htm
Institute of Physics. "Japanese spacecraft to search for clues of Earth's first life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120829195217.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's Dawn To Make Low-Key Ceres Approach Friday

NASA's Dawn To Make Low-Key Ceres Approach Friday

Newsy (Mar. 6, 2015) NASA&apos;s Dawn spacecraft will end the travel phase of its journey to Ceres with a comparatively boring deceleration. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hubble Sees Rare 'Einstein Cross' Image Of Distant Supernova

Hubble Sees Rare 'Einstein Cross' Image Of Distant Supernova

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) A rare trick of the light caused by the gravity of a distant galaxy caused Hubble to see four images of the same supernova at once. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's Up March 2015

What's Up March 2015

NASA (Mar. 4, 2015) A total solar eclipse in the North Atlantic and tips to prepare for the next U.S. eclipse. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

Raw: SpaceX Launches Rocket, Satellites on Board

AP (Mar. 2, 2015) SpaceX launched it&apos;s 16th Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday night. The rocket was carrying two commercial communications satellites. (March 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins