11:52 GMT +323 March 2019
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    This computer graphics image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows an asteroid and asteroid explorer Hayabusa2.

    Japanese Probe Hayabusa2 Touches Down on Ryugu Asteroid

    © AP Photo / JAXA handout
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japanese asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 landed on the surface of asteroid Ryugu for collecting samples and bringing them back to Earth, a live broadcast conducted by Japanese space agency JAXA showed on Friday.

    The asteroid is currently around 300 million kilometres (186 million miles) away from Earth.

    Scientists say that the samples, which the Japanese probe will try to collect, may shed light on how the Solar System was created and how life appeared on Earth.

    READ MORE: Asteroid Landing: To Know an Asteroid is to Know Our Solar System — Yuichi Tsuda

    ​After touching down on the surface of the Ryugu asteroid, the lander transmitted the signal that it had collected the first samples from the asteroid for their subsequent delivery to Earth and had taken off to the orbit to stay there until the next touchdown, the Japanese space agency JAXA said on later.

    The agency said that the robot had injected a metal bullet into the asteroid’s soil in order to release material and then passively collect the samples through a sampler horn.

    Hayabusa2 was launched in December 2014, and is expected to stay on the asteroid for a period of 18 months before its scheduled return to Earth in 2020. The Hayabusa2 mission has cost the agency roughly $260 million, according to AFP. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the spacecraft after a long period of extensive planning, it also recreated an asteroid and bullet that it has to shoot into the rock to collect samples on Earth for relevant experiments.

    Related:

    Japan's Hayabusa2 Probe Nears Ryugu Asteroid After Flying 2Bn Miles in 3.5 Years
    Japan's Hayabusa2 Spacecraft to Shoot Bullet Into Asteroid This Week - Reports
    Tags:
    Ryugu, asteroid, landing, Hayabusa 2, Space
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