JAXA releases footage of Hayabusa 2 spacecraft's second asteroid touchdown
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has released a video showing the climactic moments of the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft's second descent to the surface of asteroid Ryugu. The goal of the risky operation was to capture newly exposed material from the asteroid's interior, which had been forcefully ejected during the creation of an artificial crater on Ryugu's surface in early April.
The footage of the second dive was captured on July 11, 2019 by Hayabusa 2's publicly-funded onboard small monitor camera (CAM-H). The playback is at 10x actual speed, and shows the spacecraft's final descent to the surface, which occurred between 10:03:54 – 10:11:44 JST.
At the point the video begins the probe is floating just 8.5 m (28 ft) above Ryugu's surface. Upon making contact, the probe kicked up a cloud of debris to be captured in a "sampler horn" for return to Earth. The spacecraft can then be seen making good its escape, pursued by debris from the encounter.
The video ends with Hayabusa 2 roughly 150 m (492 ft) above the ancient solar system body, in the process of returning to the relative safety of a higher orbit.
Scroll down to watch the second touchdown video courtesy of JAXA.