The science team for Hayabusa-2 has released an updated landing schedule.
Two of the landers developed by the Japanese space agency will be deployed together by Hayabusa 2 on Sept. 21, and another landing probe provided by German and French scientists is set for its descent to Ryugu on Oct. 3.
Those landing attempts will be preceded by a landing rehearsal using the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft to approach within 100 feet (30 meters) of Ryugu next week. The spacecraft is scheduled to reach its closest point to the asteroid Sept. 12, low enough to fire and test its laser range finder, a navigation sensor to be used on future touch-and-go maneuvers to snag a sample of Ryugu for return to Earth.
Below is the very busy planetary probe schedule through January:
- Week of September 12: Hayabusa-2 will do dress rehearsal of its Ryugu landing
- September 21: Two of Hayabusa-2’s three Minerva-II mini-landers will land on Ryugu
- October 3: Another Hayabusa-2 mini-lander, MASCOT, will land on Ryugu
- October 3: The Parker Solar Probe makes first fly-by of Venus
- Late October: Hayabusa-2 itself will land and grab a sample of Ryugu
- November 26: The U.S. lander InSight will land on Mars.
- December 3: OSIRIS-REx will arrive at the asteroid Bennu.
- December: Chang’e-4 will land on the Moon’s far side.
- January 1: New Horizons will fly past the Kuiper Belt object Ultima Thule.
During this time period Curiosity will also make two more drill attempts, and then resume its climb up Mount Sharp.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
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The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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