JAXA Collaborates With Toyota; Mission Is Set For The Lunar Surface

A computer graphic handout image shows Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa 2 probe arrives to asteroid Ryugu in outer space.
A computer graphic handout image shows Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Hayabusa 2 probe arrives to asteroid Ryugu, in this image released by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and obtained by Reuters on February 22, 2019. (Photo: Mandatory credit Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)/Handout via Reuters)

A collaboration between JAXA and Toyota is on its way. The officials said on Wednesday that the agency is planning to have a mission on the moon. The plan's mission is to send an astronaut on the lunar surface. Thus, the auto giant is expected to develop a lunar rover for the said mission. 

If the mission will push through, it will be Toyota's first full-fledged entry into the space exploration. The carmaker has also previously developed a small robot that has been sent to the International Space Station back in 2013. The robot named Kibiro is the first small robot to speak in the outer space. A spokesperson with JAXA said that We are planning to cooperate with Toyota in an exploration mission to the moon." 

Thus, a spokesperson also said that more of the details will be announced by Toyota and JAXA on March 12. This will happen during the symposium hosted by the space agency. Thus, the auto giant is also set to announce a joint project on mobility and a space probe," but the company denied to give more details, according to Phys.org

Meanwhile, a Japanese probe was sent to collect samples from an asteroid. The travel distance is 300 million kilometers away. It has successfully landed on Friday, February 22. It will then collect clues about the solar system and the origin of life. 

According to JAXA, the Huayabusa2 laded briefly on the Ryugu asteroid. It then fired a bullet into the surface to puff up the dust. It collected the samples and blasted back to its holding position.  In the control room, a live webcast showed dozens of members from JAXA nervously monitoring the data ahead of the touchdown. After receiving the signal from Hayabusa2 that it has already landed, the staff then stormed in applause. The project manager of Hayabusa2, Yuichi Tsuda, told the reporters, "We made a successful touchdown, including firing a bullet into the Ryugu asteroid. We made the ideal touchdown in the best conditions," according to Express

As follows, the Hayabusa2 mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa said that the complicated procedure took less time than they were expecting. It also appeared without a hitch. He added that I'm really relieved now. It felt very long until the moment the touchdown happened. The firing of the bullet - the first of 3 planned in this mission - "will lead to a leap, or new discoveries, in planetary science."

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