March 24, 2019

Japan's Hayabusa2 lands on asteroid Ryugu to collect samples

22 February 2019, 11:26 | Edward Lowe

Japanese spacecraft attempts landing on distant asteroid

Japanese spacecraft to attempt landing on distant asteroid

Though its original touchdown date of October was delayed, mission scientists were able to conduct tests back here on Earth to further prepare for Hayabusa2's eventual contact with the asteroid.

A Japanese probe sent to examine an asteroid 170 million miles from the Earth for clues about the origin of life and the solar system landed successfully on Friday.

The Hayabusa-2 probe will try to grab some of the 1km-wide asteroid, Ryugu.

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This computer graphic image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows the Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 approaching on the asteroid Ryugu.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency staff, as they confirmed the spacecraft Hayabusa2 made a tricky maneuver, at the control room of the JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, near Tokyo.

He said the probe seemed to have fired a bullet into the Ryugu asteroid, created to puff up surface material for analysis back on Earth.

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The Ryugu asteroid that the explorer landed on is named after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale.

Earlier in September a year ago, JAXA successfully landed two miniature rovers on the surface of Asteroid Ryugu.

Hayabusa-2 completed its landing late on Thursday night on to the surface of the asteroid and has since fired a bullet at the rock's surface.

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The initial touchdown on the asteroid was postponed in October a year ago as JAXA found the surface of the asteroid, which is about 300 million km from the Earth and 900 meters in diameter, to be rockier than it first thought and needed more time to ensure the safe landing of the probe.

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