"To learn more about the solar system’s origin and evolution, the Japan
Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is investigating typical types of
asteroids. Analysing samples from asteroids enables us to study organic
matter and water in the solar system.
JAXA’s asteroid explorer, Hayabusa2, is on an asteroid sample-return
mission that started on 3 December 2014, from Japan’s Tanegashima Space
Center. The 3.5 year voyage spanned nearly 3.2 billion kilometres (over
8,000 times the average distance from Earth to the Moon). The explorer
finally reached Ryugu asteroid on 27 June 2018.
Since September 2018, Hayabusa2 has deployed 1 lander and 2 rovers to
Ryugu’s surface to investigate the asteroid. Impressively, Hayabusa2
also completed 2 sample collections, on 21 February 2019 and 11 July 2019.
Hayabusa2 plans to depart Ryugu in December 2019. The return trip is
expected to take a year with retrieval operations planned to occur in
the South Australian desert area of Woomera."
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*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics