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Japanese probe’s study of asteroid matter could help explain Earth’s evolution

The Hayabusa 2, a robotic Japanese spacecraft is due to launch on Monday in Japan from the Tanegashima Space Center. The take-off was originally set for Saturday, but because of unfavorable elements it was not able to launch. Fortunately, on Monday, the launch of Hayabusa 2 will continue and in mid-2018 it will reach its destination, Asteroid 1999 JU3.

Asteroid 1999 JU3 is 3,000 foot in circumference and circles the sun on an orbit that crosses through Earth’s. In past research, the belief that organic matter existed on JU3 was brought up by NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Carbon, amino acids and water-rich minerals were all believed to be located on the asteroid, which might help to provide fundamental evidence on evolution and where oceans were first created on Earth.

Physical confirmation on organic materials living on JU3 is needed in order to help prove scientific theory. The first Hayabusa mission as carried out by Japanese scientists in 2010 was more of a demonstration to prove the rocket’s capability. That changed when the rocket brought back samples from an S-type asteroid named Itokawa. Traces of iron-rich olivine and pyroxene particles were also found which prove that the particles were not pollution from the Earth.

Due to the substantial evidence brought back in the original Hayabusa mission, JAXA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency have partnered with planetary scientist Paul Abell from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. They are to carry out the Hayabusa 2 mission on Monday in hopes that the H-2A rocket will bring back evidence of organic material on Asteroid 1999 JU3. With the technical issues faced in the first mission, the robotic spacecraft has been upgraded and reworked. Scientists hope it will bring back samples from the JU3 after it stays for nearly a year gathering samples and monitoring the asteroid.

The four rovers and impactor probe are new advances scientists are hoping will help aid in a successful mission. With the right samples and evidence, they may be able to prove the correlation between asteroids, how the solar system formed, and how life started on Earth. This could greatly impact the theories of evolution and the solar system. The Hayabusa 2 mission for organic matter on the JU3 is important for furthering scientific study.