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In a press photo op the Japanese have unveiled the completed Hayabusa 2, ready for its journey to an asteroid.
Hayabusa 2 will deploy one of five target markers that it will use to guide itself into landing and collecting a sample. It will deploy a European-built lander named MASCOT and three (count them, three) “rovers” called MINERVA-II. I put “rovers” in quotes because I think these are not wheeled rovers but rather bouncy hoppers like Hayabusa 1’s MINERVA (which was deployed but sadly missed Itokawa). Then it will do an experiment like Deep Impact’s, releasing an impactor to make a crater on the asteroid’s surface. But because Hayabusa 2’s impactor won’t have much kinetic energy, they made it explosive. The mothership will have to hide in the shadow of the asteorid as the explosion happens, so they have also added the deployable DCAM3 to try to get a view of the crater’s formation.
Rendezvous is set for around 2018 with the spacecraft’s sample return to Earth sometime in 2020.