Japanese probe Hayabusa 2 sends asteroid samples to Earth

The Hayabusa 2 probe approaching asteroid Ryugu in February 2020. JAXA / AFP / File

Text by: Simon Rozé Follow

2 min

While China, with its Chang'e 5 probe, is in the middle of a lunar mission to bring back samples from our satellite to Earth, another Japanese mission is preparing to do the same, but with fragments of asteroid this times.

After 6 years in space, Hayabusa 2 has finished its journey and will drop its precious cargo.


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In general, when you send a probe into space, its program is loaded.

This is the case for Hayabusa 2, maybe even more than usual.

Her target: the asteroid Ryugu, which she reached in June 2018 after three and a half years of travel.

Several weeks of in-orbit study followed before the probe deposited several other craft on the surface for an

in situ



This period was also used to determine what will be the collection sites, the most spectacular part of the mission, Hayabusa indeed had to stroke the surface of the asteroid twice to take samples, a success.

In December 2019, she then began her return to Earth.

A year later, here it is.

She will drop this Saturday a capsule containing the precious grains of dust.

It will land a little before 6 p.m. UT in Australia.

Asteroid fragments that will then be analyzed in laboratories to teach us a little more about the history of the solar system and the formation of these stones in space. 


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  • Space

  • Japan