How’s that for an eye grabbing headline?
Actually I latched onto this just because it seems another wild, complex space mission, not a Curiosity for sure, but still. . .
It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on how things go. Hayabusa 1 sadly failed in firing it’s bullets.
ScienceDaily (Aug. 29, 2012) — In a Physics World special report on Japan, Dennis Normile reports on how the Japanese space agency JAXA plans to land a spacecraft onto an asteroid in 2018 to search for clues of how life began on Earth.
Hayabusa 2 will be launched in 2014 with a view to settling on the targeted asteroid, named 1999 JU3, in mid-2018 before arriving back on Earth in 2020.
As soon as Hayabusa 2 safely reaches its destination it will fire fingertip-sized bullets into the surface of the asteroid at speeds of 300 m s and collect the rebounded fragments. After moving to a safe distance away, it will then detonate an impactor module, which will fire a 2 kg projectile into the asteroid to create a 2 m crater.