Hayabusa2’s samples from asteroid Ryugu will return to Earth on 6 December 2020, Japan’s area company introduced. The samples will land in southern Australia on the similar army complicated the place the primary Hayabusa spacecraft despatched samples from asteroid Itokawa in 2010. Hayabusa2 itself will go inside 200 kilometers of Earth and fly on to go to one other asteroid. Pictured: Hayabusa2 snapped this image of Ryugu after amassing 1 of 2 samples in 2019. Hayabusa2’s shadow might be seen, together with a darkish splotch the place the spacecraft’s thrusters blew away lighter supplies on Ryugu’s floor. Image credit score: JAXA et al.
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope handed two assessments designed to make sure that the spacecraft is prepared for launch subsequent 12 months: an acoustic check blasted the observatory with sound waves to simulate the noise of liftoff, whereas a floor command check made positive Webb can energy on and obtain instructions. Next up: vibration assessments to make sure that nothing shakes free throughout the trip to orbit in October 2021.
China is in search of worldwide companions for a lunar base deliberate for the Moon’s south pole. Russia and the European Space Agency have an interest; each are additionally members in NASA’s Artemis program. The base would initially be robotic however may help human visits within the early 2030s.
NASA introduced astronaut Jeanette Epps will be a part of the crew of a Boeing Starliner spacecraft scheduled to go to the International Space Station subsequent 12 months. Epps, together with astronauts Suni Williams and Josh Cassada, will keep aboard the station for six months. Boeing should first full each an uncrewed and crewed Starliner check flight earlier than the mission, beneath the phrases of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft carried out some preliminary well being checks on its devices and seems to be doing nicely because it cruises to Mars. The spacecraft, which consists of an orbiter and rover, is an element of a global fleet of new Mars missions that launched in July and will arrive in February 2021.