Hayabusa2, a Japanese space probe named after a falcon, successfully touched down on asteroid Ryugu, which lies more than 300 million km (186 million miles) from Earth, on a mission to seek clues about the origins of life, said JAXA. Hayabusa 2 fired a small projectile into the asteroid that measures just 900 meters (3,000 feet) in diameter to collect particles scientists hope will be brought back to Earth for analysis. “We may have caused some worry due to the delay but we carried out our plan flawlessly over the past four months to bring it to a successful landing. It landed in the best circumstances among the scenarios we envisioned,” said project manager Yuichi Tsuda. Read more for the video conference and additional information.
“Asteroids are believed to have formed at the dawn of the solar system and scientists say Ryugu may contain organic matter that may have contributed to life on Earth. JAXA’s plan is for Hayabusa 2 to lift off Ryugu and touch back down up to three times. It blasted off in December 2014 and is scheduled to return to Earth at the end of 2020,” reports Reuters.
Here's an edited version of that video JAXA just showed, where the tantalum bullet fires into the surface. pic.twitter.com/mCLkBoWK94
— Jason Davis (@jasonrdavis) February 21, 2019