Japan’s Hayabusa 2 probe is blasting a hole in an asteroid tonight (and that’s awesome)

It’s a big day for space: launches, tests, orbits, and now a distant probe is going to shoot an asteroid with its space gun and make a new crater to play in. It’s Hayabusa 2, Japan’s ambitious and so far highly successful sample return mission to an object called Ryugu.
Launched in 2014, Hayabusa 2 has been in the region of Ryugu for several months, carrying out a series of investigations. It has four small landers on board, two of which it dropped off late last year, and which have been hopping happily around the asteroid.
In February the craft itself touched down on the surface, stirring up the dust considerably, but nothing like what will happen when they fire a big old bullet into the surface at 4,400 mph using the Small Carry-on Impactor. Here’s a test of the setup firing into a Ryugu-like substrate in a lab here on Earth:
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