Les échantillons d'astéroïde comme ceux de Ryugu rapportés par Hayabusa-2 seront de moins en moins rares avec l'apport de la Chine. © Yada et. al., Nature Astronomy

China’s Tianwen-2 probe will explore Earth’s quasi-satellite and bring back parts of it

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It’s the next distant mission after that Tianwen-1the first exploration of Mars underway. A year after the very first Chinese rover landedZhurong – On the Red Planet, China is pursuing a new, extremely complex technical goal: automated sampling. So far, China’s space agency CNSA took samples from the moon (end of 2020). It’s the only mission of its kind made by China, but it’s already spectacular.

A type of asteroid that has never been explored

After Tianwen-1, the Tianwen-2 mission will become the in 2025asteroid Kamo’oalewa (alias 2016 HO3), the diameter of which reaches only 40 meters. It’s an asteroid NEOwhose Studies on its composition and sound orbit indicate that it is ancient ejecta from Moon A with a small “L”, which is a planet’s satellite. For example, Phobos and Deimos are the two moons of the planet Mars.
The moon
The moon with a capital “L” is Earth’s only natural satellite; it probably resulted from a collision 4.4 years ago…” data-image=”https://cdn.futura-sciences.com/buildsv6/images/midioriginal/c/7/8/c785911d64_50034415_lune-05 .jpg” data-url=”https://news.google.com/sciences/definitions/universe-lune-2550/” data-more=”Read more”>moon. This is what is known as a quasi-satellite of the earth: it revolves around both the The sun is the star closest to the earth, from which it is about 150 million kilometers away. The Sun is 8.5 kParsecs from the center of the Milky Way. In the stellar classification, the Sun is a G2 type star.
The mass…” data-image=”https://cdn.futura-sciences.com/buildsv6/images/midioriginal/1/d/9/1d9cd1d45f_50034577_eruption.jpg” data-url=”https://news. google.com/sciences/definitions/univers-soleil-3727/” data-more=”Read more”>Sun but also around our planet – in a very elliptical way.

Kamo’oalewa is known as the most stable quasi-satellite on Earth. However, these objects are on fragile tracks and can then branch off under the effect gravity. The asteroid is expected to remain in its orbit for almost 300 years. Never before has an object of this kind been approached. Tianwen-2’s collection of samples would allow us to learn more about Earth’s quasi-satellites and their origin.

Kamo’oalewa, also called 2016 H03, is a quasi-satellite of Earth. © JPL, NASA, Youtube

The collection and return of the samples from Kamo’oalewa to Earth should be completed fairly quickly. The journey to the asteroid will only take a few months. The CNSA uses the technique of touch and go (landed – pick up – depart), formerly used by Japanese missions. Its original name comes from MU Space Engineering’s C spacecraft. definitions/universe-hayabusa-3640/” data-more=”Read more”>Hayabusa or Osiris-Rex of NASA. Only the anchoring technique is different: Tianwen-2 will extend four arms robotics which is screwed to the surface. This prevents the probe from leaving the surface during sampling, since the asteroid’s gravity can be considered zero given its size. CNSA has not specified how much Tianwen-2 samples are expected to return to Earth.

Once sampling is complete, the probe will return to bring the samples back to Earth. She will throw them into a pod protected by a heat shield to pass ours the atmospherewhich will land under parachute in which Desert from Inner Mongolia two to three years after launch in 2025. But by then, the Tianwen-2 mission will not be completed. She has a second goal.

A double mission

After the Kamo’oalewa samples are dropped on Earth, Tianwen-2 will continue on its way to Object 311P/Panstarrs. The journey takes seven years. As it passes Earth, Tianwen-2 will use its gravity to accelerate, saving fuel. Once arrived at 311P/Panstarrs, the probe will give us all the information about this strange object. First classification in the category of cometsit is actually an “active asteroid”, which means it combines the properties of an asteroid and a comet.

Equipped with cameras and spectrometer, the probe analyzes its chemical composition. By studying this type of objects, the CNSA hopes to provide some answers to the question of the origin of the water in our water bodies solar system. In particular, there will be Russian participation in this mission. In response to a CNSA tender, the Russian space agency will deliver a detector for this wind. This wind is very weak (10 particles per cubic centimeter) but very fast (400 to 800 km/s). It’s a supersonic wind (it moves faster than waves…” data-url=”https://news.google.com/sciences/definitions/univers-vent-solaire-2445/” data-more=”Read more” >solar wind.

China conquers the solar system

On May 13, the CNSA Notice that the mission leaves the conception phase and enters the development phase. We will first build the technical models of the various elements of Tianwen-2 for testing before building the flight models for the 2025 launch.

The CNSA has already defined the following missions in the Tianwen program. After returning asteroid samples with Tianwen-2, the agency will address the extreme difficulty of returning Mars samples with Tianwen-3. It will be an all in one mission, The opposite from the program Return of the Mars sample NASA and the European Space Agency are Europe’s gateway to space. Its mission is to shape European space capability development activities and…” data-image=”https://cdn.futura-sciences.com/buildsv6/images/midioriginal/0/9/f/09f0b05e28_50034401_logo – esa-fs .jpg” data-url=”https://news.google.com/sciences/definitions/universe-esa-2466/” data-more=”Read more”>ESA. The launch is planned for 2028. The Tianwen-1 probe, currently in orbit around Mars, is continuing its surface mapping work to find the best sampling site.

Finally, the Tianwen 4 mission will aim Jupiter. The probe should also split in two to study Jupiter but also its nearest volcanic moon yes. Other missions are being explored, particularly visiting Uranus and Neptuneand even abandoned the solar system !

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