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Technology Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft leaves Ryugu asteroid, heads back to Earth

03:20  13 november  2019
03:20  13 november  2019 Source:   cnet.com

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JAXA, Japan ' s space agency, announced on Twitter Tuesday that the spacecraft is leaving its space buddy. The pair have been hanging out together since Hayabusa 2 's arrival in mid-2018. The spacecraft touched down on the asteroid and collected samples to bring back to Earth .

The shadow of Japan ’ s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft cast over the asteroid Ryugu last year.Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty The Osiris-Rex spacecraft is currently surveying another carbon-rich asteroid known as Bennu, and it too will collect samples and return them to Earth .

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft has had a close relationship with asteroid Ryugu. It sent rovers and landers to its surface, fired a bullet at it and blasted a hole in the asteroid with a mini cannonball.

a close up of a crater: Goodbye, Ryugu. It's been real. JAXA© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Goodbye, Ryugu. It's been real. JAXA

But everything good must come to an end and Hayabusa2 is now on its way back home.

JAXA, Japan's space agency, announced on Twitter Tuesday that the spacecraft is leaving its space buddy. The pair have been hanging out together since Hayabusa2's arrival in mid-2018.

Hayabusa2 isn't leaving empty-handed. The spacecraft touched down on the asteroid and collected samples to bring back to Earth. Talk about a quality souvenir.

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Here’s the mission for Japan ’ s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft in a nutshell: Fly to a carbon-rich asteroid between the orbits of Earth and Mars, study it for a year and a half and then bring back some pieces for additional study on At the end of 2019, Hayabusa 2 is to leave the asteroid and head back to Earth .

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 has been on a journey to the Ryugu asteroid since 2014 and will finally reach its destination on Wednesday. After a year and a half long stay of collecting and analyzing, the spacecraft will pack up and head back to Earth . The Ryugu space rock looks like a

JAXA sent Hayabusa2 off on its ambitious journey in 2014. The agency plans for Hayabusa2 to drop the sample capsule into Earth's atmosphere in late 2020 for recovery in Australia. The spacecraft will then perform an escape maneuver to stay in operation in space.

a close up of a crater© JAXA

If the sample capsule comes through as expected, scientists will study the material to learn how ancient Ryugu was formed and to gain new insights into the early solar system.

Hayabusa2's mission has been a rollicking success so far. Now it just has to ace the return.

Explore asteroid Ryugu with Japan's Hayabusa 2 spacecraft

Japan’s asteroid probe is headed back to Earth, and it’s carrying precious cargo .
The Japanese space program JAXA has accomplished a lot in 2019. After successfully guiding its asteroid probe Hayabusa2 to the space rock known as Ryugu in late 2018, the team of scientists working on the mission pulled off a number of potentially dangerous stunts, including firing projectiles at the asteroid in order to collect samples. The mission has seen its fair share of challenges, especially after it was revealed that Ryugu's surface wasThe mission has seen its fair share of challenges, especially after it was revealed that Ryugu’s surface was far rockier and debris-strewn than anyone could have guessed, but the sample-gathering maneuvers were successful.

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