Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission: Everything you need to know

Team Udayavani, Dec 6, 2020, 11:59 AM IST

A Japanese capsule returned to Earth on Saturday carrying a special delivery: the first rock samples from beneath the surface of an asteroid.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will broadcast two key events overnight tonight and Saturday (Dec. 4-5) during which you can watch the return capsule make its way to the ground.

The Hayabasu2 mission was launched in December 2014 when the spacecraft was sent on a six-year-long voyage to study the asteroid Ryugu and collect samples that it is now bringing back to the Earth.

According to Indian Express, The spacecraft arrived at the asteroid in mid-2018 after which it deployed two rovers and a small lander onto the surface. In 2019, the spacecraft fired an impactor into the asteroid’s surface to create an artificial crater with a diametre of a little more than 10 metres, which allowed it to collect the samples.

Hayabasu2’s predecessor, the Hayabusa mission brought back samples from the asteroid Itokawa in 2010.

According to NYpost, On Sunday, the spacecraft will drop a landing capsule, which contains the asteroid sample back to the Earth, which will then make a landing inside the Woomera Range Complex in the South Australian outback using a parachute.

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