Firing the cannonball enabled researchers to directly observe the formation of a crater in microgravity for the first time, answering how much the microgravity affects crater formation.
The crater growth process appears to be controlled by the surface gravity, not by the surface material strength. In fact, the diameter of the new crater on Ryugu is about 7 TIMES LARGER than if it had formed on sand under the Earth’s gravity.
“If we want to deflect an asteroid by an impact, we need a much better understanding of this process,”
“All this is super exciting.”