Asteroid SHOCK: Hayabusa2 just blasted Asteroid Ryugu with EXPLOSIVES in daring mission

Hayabusa2 swooped in on Asteroid Ryugu with its explosive payload on Friday, April 5. The Japanese space probe nosedived towards the asteroid, dropping a 14kg copper with an attached explosive charge. The so-called Small Carry-on Impactor or SCI, detached from Hayabusa roughly 1,640ft (500m) above Ryugu. The explosive then struck the asteroid at breakneck speeds of more than 4,470mph or two kilometres per second.

Japan’s space agency JAXA said the goal of the unusual mission was to create an artificial impact crater on the asteroid.

JAXA estimated the small explosive charge would leave behind a roughly 32-ft-wide (10m) crater.

Pixelated photographs snapped by a remote camera deployed during Hayabusa2’s bombing manoeuvre appear to show a spray of debris from the impact point.

The space agency tweeted: “The deployable camera, DCAM3 successfully photographed the ejector fro when the SCI collide with Ryugu’s surface.

“This is the world’s first collision experiment with an asteroid.

“In the future, we will examine the crater formed an how the ejector dispersed.”

JAXA later said the day of the bombing dive was fraught with excitement, delight and wild emotions as DCAM3 beamed back its images.

The Japanese agency has since bid “goodnight” to the camera, saying the images it has taken will serve as a “treasure that will open up new science in the future.”

JAXA said: “To the brave little camera that exceeded expectations and worked hard for four hours – thank you.”

This is the world’s first collision experiment with an asteroid

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

The act of bombing Ryugu helped dislodge bits and pieces of surface regolith for later collection.

All rock samples collected by Hayabusa2 will make their way back to Earth by some point in 2020.

Earlier this year on February 21, the Japanese spacecraft dipped down to Ryugu to carry out its first sample retrieval.

But the latest batch of dislodged rocks are from deeper inside of the asteroid, meaning they have not been exposed to the harsh conditions of space.

The Japanese agency hopes to learn from Asteroid Ryugu of the earliest day of our solar system.

The 2,624ft-wide (800m) asteroid is believed to be an ancient relic dating back some 4.5 billion years into the past.

The asteroid is currently hurtling through space about twice as far from the Earth as the Sun is – about 180 million miles (300 million km).

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