Published: Fri, February 22, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

Japan space probe to collect rock from asteroid - CBBC Newsround

Japan space probe to collect rock from asteroid - CBBC Newsround

Hayabusa2 touched down briefly on the Ryugu asteroid, fired a bullet into the surface to puff up dust for collection and blasted back to its holding position, said officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Japan's space probe Hayabusa2 began its descent Thursday to an asteroid named Ryugu, which the probe arrived above in June previous year, the space agency here said.

He said the probe seemed to have fired a bullet into the Ryugu asteroid, created to puff up surface material for analysis back on Earth.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency staff, as they confirmed the spacecraft Hayabusa2 made a tricky maneuver, at the control room of the JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, near Tokyo.

On its first landing, lasting a few seconds, Hayabusa2 will fire a bullet from a cylindrical tube called a "sampler horn" and collect sand and rock fragments thrown up by the impact.

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This computer graphic image provided by JAXA shows the Japanese unmanned spacecraft approaching the surface of an asteroid about 280 million kilometers from Earth.

Prior to that, two small robotic rovers also launched from Hayabusa2 successfully landed on Ryugu on September 22.

The asteroid is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born.

In September, the space agency successfully landed two small rovers from Hayabusa2 onto Ryugu, publishing a series of photos taken on the asteroid's surface.

Hayabusa-2 will continue to work on the asteroid before theme comes to return to Earth.

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