Japan has retrieved a space probe from Australia’s remote outback after a six-year mission that may help reveal more about the origins of the planets, the Asian nation’s space agency said on Sunday.
A capsule from the unmanned Hayabusa2, carrying the first extensive samples of dust from an asteroid, was flown by helicopter from the outback to a domestic research facility of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).“This is great,” Yuichi Tsuda, a project manager for the agency, told Japanese broadcaster NHK. “It was a beautiful re-entry. We are all very moved by this.” The agency will hold a briefing later on Sunday.
The spacecraft, launched from Japan’s Tanegashima space centre in 2014, took four years to reach asteroid Ryugu gathering a sample and heading back to Earth in November 2019.