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Japan spacecraft completes asteroid landing

Japan's space agency says data transmitted from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft indicated it successfully landed on a distant asteroid to complete its mission of collecting underground samples in hopes of finding clues to the origin of the solar system.

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 scientific data.

The Hayabusa2 project team celebrating the spacecraft's landing on Ryugu, an asteroid 300 million kilometres away from Earth.
The Hayabusa2 project team celebrating the spacecraft's landing on Ryugu, an asteroid 300 million kilometres away from Earth. Source: Associated Press

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

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

A file image by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency shows the Hayabusa2's shadow after its landing on asteroid Ryugu.
A file image by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency shows the Hayabusa2's shadow after its landing on asteroid Ryugu. Source: Associated Press


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