Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
  1. Prime Day Deals
    09:43 Deals

    These early Prime Day deals have prices so low, it’s like Amazon made a mistake

  2. Prime Day Deals
    07:58 Deals

    Amazon has 10 new early Prime Day deals you need to see to believe

  3. amazon nest thermostat 3rd generation
    14:02 Deals

    Newest Nest Thermostat gets a rare Amazon discount ahead of Prime Day

  4. Amazon Deals
    10:22 Deals

    Today’s best deals: Huge Prime members-only sale, $15 Echo Auto, $106 off Apple Watc…

  5. Best Amazon Deals Today
    07:58 Deals

    15 hidden Amazon deals that are so exclusive, they’re only for Prime members

Watch Japan’s asteroid probe fire a bullet into a space rock

March 5th, 2019 at 6:04 PM
hayabusa2 video

It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Japan space program, JAXA, announced that its Hayabusa2 probe had successfully completed a maneuver never before attempted in space. The spacecraft dipped down, close to the surface of the asteroid known as Ryugu, fired a projectile at its surface, snatched some sample material, and then gently drifted back into its original position.

The maneuver was complex and risky, but Hayabusa2 pulled it off, and now we actually have video of how the entire thing played out.

A small camera installed on Hayabusa2 captured the moment of touchdown, the firing of the “bullet” into the asteroid’s surface, and the return of the probe to its holding position in the sky above the rock. Check it out:

This is some pretty incredible stuff. The video, which is actually much higher quality than you might expect, provides a stunning look at the highly technical operation.

One of the things that made this maneuver so risky is the incredibly jagged and rocky surface of Ryugu. JAXA engineers were initially shocked at how debris-covered the asteroid is, and the team was actually forced to delay its sample collection attempt because they weren’t sure how they were going to pull it off.

Ultimately, a slightly less-messy location was found on Ryugu and JAXA decided that it was worth the risk to attempt to snag a sample of the rock. Hayabusa2 is scheduled to perform at least two more sample collection maneuvers before its stay at the asteroid can be over. When that time comes, the probe will head back towards Earth to deliver the material to scientists for further study.

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today,, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

Popular News