The artificial impact of a projectile on the asteroid Ryugu, conducted by the Japanese probe ‘Hayabusa 2’ on April 5, 2019, shook the environment for 30 meters around. The goal was to create a crater to sample from the interior of the asteroid, which is now traveling on its way to Earth.

A study of the Kobe University and members of the mission has discovered more than 200 rocks between 30 centimeters and 6 meters in size, that recently appeared or moved as a result of the impact.

Images before and after the impact of the impact.
Kobe University

Some rocks were disturbed even as far away as 40 m from the center of the crater. The researchers also found that the area of ​​seismic shaking, in which rocks on the surface shook and moved an order of centimeters from the impact, was It stretched about 30 meters from the center of the crater, according to a statement.

Hayabusa2 recovered a surface sample at the northern point of the crater and the thickness of the ejection deposits at this site was estimated to be between 1.0 mm and 1.8 cm using a digital elevation map (DEM). These findings on the reconfiguration processes of a real asteroid can be used as a benchmark for numerical simulations of small impacts, in addition to artificial impacts in future planetary missions such as NASA’s DART, which will attempt to change the trajectory of a space rock.

Effects of artificial impact on the asteroid Ryugu.
Effects of artificial impact on the asteroid Ryugu.

The results will be presented at the 52nd meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.

The objective of hitting Ryugu with a SCI (Small Carry-on Impactor) projectile of about 13 centimeters was recover a sample of the subsurface material. In addition, this provided a good opportunity to study the surface renewal processes that result from an impact that occurs in an asteroid with a surface gravity of 10 to the -5 of Earth’s gravity.

El SCI managed to form a 14.5 meter impact crater. It was found that the concentric area of ​​the center of the crater, which has a radius four times the radius of the crater, was also disturbed by the impact, causing the rocks to move.