Japan’s Hayabusa-2 Successfully Lands on the Asteroid and Sends Back Postcards – Here They Are

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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s Hayabusa-2 probe began its journey back in December 2014. It landed on its target asteroid, Ryugu, last Thursday, July 11, at 01:06 UTC according to JAXA. The probe’s mission is simple on paper but complex in practice.

Image taken on July 11 2019 at 10:06:32 JST (onboard time) with the ONC-W1.
(Image credit ※: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST.)

It is to collect rock samples from the surface of the half-mile-wide asteroid. In June, Hayabusa-2 orbited the asteroid and got its bearings as for how the landing on the surface would proceed.

Ryugu is of particular interest to researchers because it is one of the many ancient asteroids in our solar system. As Science Alert points out, Ryugu is a type-C asteroid which means it is mainly composed of carbon, water molecules, and maybe even amino acids – the basic building blocks of life.

One theory for the beginning of life on Earth is that an asteroid brought the necessary materials for life to start on this planet and Ryugu could confirm or disprove this. Here are some of the pictures the team tweeted out.

This image was taken on July 11 2019 at 10:08:53 JST (onboard time) with the ONC-W1.
(Image credit ※: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu and AIST.)
Image taken 4 seconds before touchdown with CAM-H (image credit: JAXA).
The moment of touchdown captured with CAM-H(image credit:JAXA).
Image taken 4 seconds after touchdown with CAM-H (image credit: JAXA).

You can read JAXA's press on the probe by clicking here.

What do you think of the Hayabusa-2 mission? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Also be sure to check out our other photography news stories by clicking here.

[Science Alert]

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here

Asteroids are thought to have been what brought gold, silver and platinum along with other important and valuable materials to Earth. How much gold does each asteroid have if all the gold on the planet was brought here on asteroid transport and much of each asteroid would burn up on contact with our atmosphere and near total destruction before impact! Must be millions of tons! Are they looking for life? Or are they looking for YEN?

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