In the desert region of Australia, capsules with rock samples from the asteroid Ryuku carried by the Japanese spacecraft “Hayabusa2” from a long space flight have successfully received Earth.
The content will continue after the ad
A small capsule only 40 centimeters in diameter separated from the probe at 220,000 kilometers, entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 120 kilometers and opened a parachute at ten kilometers, while the probe itself was redirected on a new mission to another distant asteroid that it could reach in ten years.
A team of Japanese scientists announced that the capsule had already been found flying over the area by helicopter.
“We found a capsule! With the whole parachute! ”JAXA tweeted.
The landing operation required extreme precision. In the area of the proposed capsule landing, the agency deployed a number of satellite dishes to receive the signals it transmitted using radar, drones and helicopters to search.
It is not planned to open the capsule in Australia, but to deliver it to Japan and start analyzing its contents in June next year.
The Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014; 6 billion year old rock samples.
Scientists hope that these samples taken below the asteroid’s surface will provide insight into the evolution of the solar system. Studies to date suggest that these rocks may contain water and possibly organic matter, such as amino acids, which could have been “a source of life on Earth,” the researchers said.
The name of the asteroid in Ryuk means “Dragon Castle” and in Japanese mythology means dragon castle at the bottom of the ocean.