Hayabusa2 to blow a hole in Ryugu to collect underground samples

Japan's space agency, JAXA, has announced that the Hayabusa2 spacecraft will soon pull off another critical mission. The new mission will see the spacecraft drop an explosive on Ryugu in an attempt to make its own crater and extract underground samples from the asteroid.JAXA says that the impactor Hayabusa2 will smack the asteroid with an impactor the size of a baseball that weighs 4.4 pounds. The mission will take place on April 5, and the goal is to get a sample from under the asteroid's surface to sample portions of the asteroid that have never been hit by sunlight or space rays.

The trickiest part of the mission is that after hurling the impactor at the asteroid, Hayabusa2 will need to quickly move to the other side of the asteroid to avoid being hit with ejected debris. JAXA project engineer Takanao Saeki has said the mission would be very challenging.

The day before the mission is set to take place, Hayabusa2 will lower a cone-shaped device to the surface that contains explosives and a copper plate on the bottom. When the explosive goes off the copper plate will smack the asteroid's surface at 1.2 miles per second.

JAXA thinks the smack will make a crater that is up to 32-feet in diameter with a depth of 3.3 feet, assuming the underground structure is soft. The spacecraft previously shot a much smaller projectile into the asteroid to collect samples. Hayabusa2 landed on Ryugu last month.