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Hayabusa 2 successfully lands on asteroid and collects sample

on 24 February 2019

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft has successfully landed on the asteroid Ryugu and collected the first sample from its surface. As it touched the asteroid, the spacecraft fired a 5-gram bullet made of tantalum onto the surface to dislodge particles and collect them with its sampling instrument.


Then it began to rise again. The article image was taken by the camera on the craft during this ascent. In the photo, one can see the spacecraft’s shadow, as well as a black scorch mark created by its thrusters.

The mission has two more samples collection attempts before Hayabusa 2 returns to Earth. The third will be the most destructive, using explosives to blow a crater in the asteroid so the probe can sample material from under the surface.

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Image credit: Hayabusa, JAXA