A Japanese space probe named after a falcon, Hayabusa 2, touched down on an asteroid more than 300 million km from Earth on Friday.
Japanese space agency said the probe is on a mission to seek clues about the origins of life.
“Today, humanity’s hand has reached a new asteroid. JAXA’s space probe Hayabusa 2 has landed on asteroid Ryugu, and has conducted an operation to collect particles from Ryugu”, said Hayabusa 2 project manager, Yuichi Tsuda.
Today, humanity's hand has reached a new asteroid. JAXA's space probe Hayabusa 2 has landed on asteroid Ryugu, and has conducted an operation to collect particles from Ryugu.
An initial attempt was delayed in October because it was difficult to pick a landing spot on the asteroid’s rocky surface, just 3,000 feet in diameter.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said Hayabusa 2 fired a small projectile into the surface of Ryugu to collect particles. Scientists hope the spacecraft will bring the particles back to Earth for analysis.
The probe is the second Japanese spacecraft to land on an asteroid after Hayabusa touched down on a near-Earth asteroid named Itokawa in 2005.
It was the first to bring asteroid dust back to Earth, although not as much as hoped.