Six years after Japan’s Hayabusa2 mission was launched, it is set to return back to Earth 6 carrying with it samples from the one-kilometre wide Ryugu asteroid that orbits the Sun.
Hayabusa2 capsule to arrive in Japan Tuesday
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, says a capsule released by the agency’s asteroid probe Hayabusa2 will arrive in Japan from Australia on Tuesday morning.
The capsule is believed to contain sand samples from the Ryugu asteroid. It was retrieved after landing in an Australian desert on Sunday.
Before leaving the country, scientists from JAXA, analyzed gas inside the capsule.
A chartered flight carrying the capsule departed Australia late Monday and is scheduled to arrive at Haneda Airport in Tokyo around 7 a.m. on Tuesday.
The capsule will then be transported to JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Science near Tokyo.
The project team is due to hold a news conference after completing a series of post-arrival work. It is expected to start analyses on what it hopes to be soil samples from the asteroid.
JAXA has released two color images of the Earth that Hayabusa2 captured after it released the capsule and headed for its next mission.
The images, entitled “Good bye, Planet Earth” show blue seas and continents of the Earth