Mission Type: Impact, Lander, Sample Return, Rover
Launch Vehicle: H-IIA
Spacecraft Mass: 600 kg
1) X-band High-Gain Antenna (XHGA)
2) Ka-band High-Gain Antenna (KaHGA)
3) Solar Array Paddle (SAP)
4) Small Lander: MASCOT (Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout)
5) Re-entry capsule
6) Small rover (MINERVA 2)
7) Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI)
Spacecraft Dimensions: Main structure: 1.0m x 1.6m x 1.4m. Paddle span: 6.0m
Spacecraft Power: Ion engine
Hayabusa 2 Project Website: http://b612.jspec.jaxa.jp/hayabusa2/e/index_e.html
In 2003, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) sent the first asteroid sample return mission, Hayabusa, to asteroid Itokawa (1998 SF36). Launching in 2014, Hayabusa 2 will be Japan's (and the world's) second asteroid sample-return mission.
Hayabusa 2's primary scientific objective is to collect a surface, and possible sub-surface, sample of materials from asteroid 1999 JU3 and return them to Earth in a capsule for analysis. The mission is also aiming to enhance the reliability of asteroid exploration technologies.
Asteroid 1999 JU3 is about 900 m (about 2,953 feet or about half a mile) in size. It takes 1999 JU3 about 7.6 hours to rotate once. The albedo of the surface is low, and is estimated at about 0.06.
Hayabusa 2 will cruise toward its target asteroid using a combination of ion engines and an Earth swing by (in 2015). After arriving at 1999 JU3 in 2018, Hayabusa 2 will observe the entire surface of the asteroid using a variety of remote-sensing instruments. The spacecraft will then deposit a small lander called MASCOT (the lander is made possible through an international cooperation (Germany, DLR/France, CNES)) and a rover (MINERVA 2) on the asteroid's surface. This rover will explore the surface of the asteroid in further detail. The candidate points for touch-down will then be carefully determined by using the observation results. After selecting the touch-down points, the spacecraft will collect samples from the asteroid's surface in a "touch-and-go" approach. The spacecraft will then move to the final challenge: an impactor will be released in order to create a small crater on the surface of the asteroid. After creating the artificial crater, the spacecraft will attempt to touch down on the asteroid in order to collect the sub-surface materials exposed by the impact. The collected samples will be stored in the capsule, and returned to Earth after a long homeward journey.
Asteroid 1999 JU3 is a C-type asteroid. C-type asteroids (carbonaceous) are the most common type of asteroids found in our solar system and are among the most ancient objects in our solar system. C-type asteroids most likely consist of clay and silicate rocks and are dark in appearance. (The samples returned by the earlier sample return mission, Hayabusa, are from an S-type asteroid. The S-types (silicaceous) are made up of silicate (stony) materials and nickel-iron.) The rock of C-type asteroids is considered to contain organic matter and water. By studying this different type of asteroid, Hayabusa 2 hopes to investigate the origin of water and life on the Earth.