Hayabusa 2, Japan’s asteroid sampling spacecraft has started back its journey home on November 12. During its time of operation, the spacecraft took precious samples of space rock. The scientists are already getting excited to analyze the samples.
The return home command started the culminating stage of the mission on 10.05 is local time on November 13. The mission started back in December 2014. The mission was targeted to collect samples from the asteroid Ryugu. It also planned to deploy some small robots on the surface of the asteroid for further information.
Hayabusa 2 reached the rocky asteroid almost a year ago and started its intensive job of sample collection. It will take another one year to reach the earth’s surface along with these valuable samples.
On the twitter handle of the spacecraft, the goodbye of Project Manager, Yuichi Tsuda was described as affection with a hint of loneliness.
Over time, the asteroid has taken up a new look in the images of the spacecraft, and it has started to change again. The spacecraft sends pictures of the asteroid as it approached the rocky surfaces one year ago. Now that it is coming back home, the asteroid is expected to turn into its stone covered world from the present grayish pinprick.
A new imaging campaign is taking place on its official website. The campaign is termed as “Goodbye Ryogu,” which will continue for the next four to five days. The site is updating the photo gallery with new images every half an hour or so.
JAXA personnel wrote in the first image of the gallery that it is a familiar sight for them. But they won’t be witnessing it for long, which is a shame.
When the streaming of the images terminates, the spacecraft is expected to adjust the position. It will then start the ion engine to assist in its way back to home.
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