An illustration of the Hyabusa2 probe meeting Ryugu
An illustration of the Hyabusa2 probe meeting Ryugu JAXA

Japan spacecraft samples asteroid soil

Japan's space agency says data transmitted from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft has indicated it successfully landed on a distant asteroid to complete its mission of collecting underground samples.

Hayabusa2 had created itself a landing crater earlier.

Thursday's mission was to land inside that crater to collect scattered samples that scientists believe contain more valuable clues to the origin of the solar system.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, says it has confirmed data showing Hayabusa2 touched down and rose safely. JAXA is analysing further details.

The asteroid, named Ryugu after an undersea dragon palace in a Japanese folktale, is about 300 million kilometres from Earth.


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