Around 200 million miles away from Earth, a Japanese spacecraft just grabbed a tiny sample of dirt off the surface of an asteroid — the second time humanity has ever pulled off such a feat. The precious samples are destined to come back to Earth, where they’ll be analyzed by scientists. This scrutiny could tell us a great deal about the chemical makeup of these rocks, as well as what materials were present in the early days of the Solar System.
The spacecraft in possession of this newly acquired asteroid material is Hayabusa-2, operated by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). It’s the successor to JAXA’s original Hayabusa mission, which was the first to return samples of an asteroid to Earth in 2010. Launched in 2014, Hayabusa-2 traveled through space for three and a half years, arriving at an asteroid named Ryugu in June 2018. Ever since then, Hayabusa-2 has been hanging around Ryugu, analyzing its surface and practicing for today’s big sample grab.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.