Japanese Space Capsule Carrying Pristine Asteroid Samples Lands in Australia

Japanese Space Capsule Carrying Pristine Asteroid Samples Lands in Australia

For the second time ever, humanity has brought asteroid samples down to Earth. Hayabusa2’s predecessor was the first to haul space-rock samples home, delivering pieces of the stony asteroid Itokawa in 2010. (690 kilograms) Hayabusa2 spacecraft launched in December 2014 and rendezvoused with the rugged Ryugu on June 27, 2018, kicking off an epic exploration campaign. The main Hayabusa2 spacecraft made two trips of its own to Ryugu’s surface, both times to snag samples. During the first of these operations, in February 2019, Hayabusa2 scooped up some surface material.

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