Dec 05, 2020
By Jeremy Logan
Japan’s space agency says the Hayabusa2 spacecraft has successfully separated a capsule and sent it toward Earth to deliver samples from a distant asteroid that could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on our planet.
The capsule successfully detached Saturday afternoon from 136,700 miles away in a challenging operation that required precision control.
It’s now descending to land in a remote, sparsely populated area of Woomera, Australia, on Sunday.
The return with the world’s first asteroid subsurface samples comes weeks after a NASA spacecraft made a successful touch-and-go grab of surface samples from another asteroid.
And China this week said its lunar lander collected underground samples as space developing nations compete in their missions.