The Japanese space probe Hayabusa2 has successfully completed its mission, delivering a capsule with samples collected on the Ryugu asteroid over a year ago to Earth. The Japanese space agency JAXA has confirmed that the capsule landed in Australia in the early morning of December 6 local time. According to the agency, the operation was “perfect.”
The probe first landed on Ryugu in February 2019, firing a “bullet” across the surface to kick up dust and small rocks. The mission was originally supposed to take place back in October 2018, but the updated surface data changed the plan. The next mission of the Hayabusa2 spacecraft will be the study of the asteroid 1998 KY26, but it will only approach it in July 2031.
Samples from the asteroid Ryugu should be an important puzzle in understanding how the solar system formed and the likelihood of organic matter falling to Earth with asteroids. Recently, the US mission OSIRIS-REx successfully collected samples from another asteroid that will return to Earth in September 2023 and will also help expand our knowledge of the nature of the system.