The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 has landed on the surface of an asteroid called Ryugu that’s over 5.5 million miles from Earth.
Ryugu is a carbon-rich rock that could hold clues to the history of our solar system. The rock might contain amino acids, the essential building blocks of life.
Hayabusa-2 blasted a hole in the asteroid in April in order to collect samples from subsurface rock that’s been sheltered from the wear and tear of space.
NASA is also conducting a mission to visit an asteroid and collect samples, but without the explosives.
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The life of an asteroid is lonely. The rocks spend eons drifting through the cold vacuum of space.
But on Wednesday, the asteroid Ryugu welcomed a special visitor: Japan’s Hayabusa-2 probe successfully landed on the asteroid’s surface at 9:06 p.m. ET.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched Hayabusa-2 into space in December 2014. Its mission: explore and collect samples from Ryugu, a primitive asteroid half-a-mile in diameter that orbits the sun at a distance up to 131 million miles (211 million kilometers).
The probe reached its destination in June 2018, then got to work making …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Tech