Hayabusa2 to create artificial crater in April
NHK -- Mar 06
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency says its Hayabusa2 space probe will attempt to make a crater in the asteroid Ryugu next month.

On February 22, Hayabusa2 successfully touched down on the asteroid, which is about 340 million kilometers from Earth. JAXA officials say it is likely the probe has collected rock samples as planned.

They announced the probe's next mission at a news conference on Tuesday.

They say a device called an "impactor" will be used to make a crater near the asteroid's equator during the first week of April.

They say Hayabusa2 will attempt a second touchdown in May to collect rock samples, but if the hole is too small or the surface is too rough, they may change the location for the landing.

Project manager Yuichi Tsuda says Hayabusa2 will begin detailed observations this month of the proposed touchdown site.

Tsuda says this will be the first attempt to make an artificial crater on an asteroid and bring back rocks. He says his team will make careful preparations and wants to try to make a touchdown at the earliest possible date in May.

JAXA officials also released images of the moment when Hayabusa 2 touched down on Ryugu last month. The footage shows sand and rock fragments floating around the device used to collect rock samples.

小惑星探査機『はやぶさ2』が『リュウグウ』に着陸した時の映像が5日、公開された。地表に装置を押し付けて、岩石を採取するための弾丸を発射すると、その衝撃で表面の石や砂が宙に舞うのが確認できる。リュウグウには、水分や有機物が多く含まれていると推定されている。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
May 22
Tokyo DisneySea has begun its largest expansion project ever. (NHK)
May 22
The Supreme Court and other legal professionals in Japan have hosted a symposium to mark the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the country's lay judge system. (NHK)
May 21
The Cultural Affairs Agency on Monday announced 16 additions to its Japan Heritage list of tangible and intangible cultural properties that have been preserved based on unique regional histories and traditions, including narratives. (Japan Times)
May 21
Japanese Emperor Naruhito transplanted rice seedlings in a paddy at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on Monday. (NHK)
May 21
A 24-year-old man was arrested Monday on suspicion of threatening to kill a member of a sister group of the popular girl band AKB48, police said. (Japan Today)
May 21
Japan's economy unexpectedly grew in the first quarter, giving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe some momentum to go ahead with his plan to raise the country's consumption tax this fall. (Nikkei)
May 21
A Japanese lawmaker said Monday he will not resign as a Diet member after opposition parties submitted a joint motion urging him to quit for alluding to Japan waging war with Russia to regain control of a group of disputed islands. (Japan Today)
May 21
A special six-car Mickey Mouse-themed shinkansen bullet train has begun serving southwestern Japan's Kyushu region, with images of the beloved character splashed across its yellow livery and interiors. (Kyodo)
May 21
ith tatami mats, noren curtains and a zen garden, this is one of the most stunning and affordable ways to travel in Japan. (soranews24.com)
May 20
Officials of Japan's southwestern island town of Yakushima say all the people stranded on a mountain have descended by Sunday evening. (NHK)