Elizabeth Tasker is an associate professor at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS). Her research uses computer models to explore the formation of planets and galaxies. Her popular science book, The Planet Factory, was published in 2017.
IN THE EARLY hours of 22 February, light was just beginning to brighten the campus of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) in Kanagawa, Japan. It should have been a quiet time, but the Hayabusa2 control room was packed with people. We were about to land on an asteroid.