“We found the capsule! Together with the parachute! Wow!” Said an enthusiastic tweet after a 40-centimeter-diameter object from a helicopter was in the Woomer Desert on Sunday morning (local time).
The space probe sent a special cargo Hayabusa 2 (Peregrine Falcon 2) capsule back on Saturday 220,000 kilometers from Earth. The spacecraft, which is still continuing its mission, was launched in December 2014 to collect material 300 million kilometers from Ryugu. It worked. These are samples from the surface and, for the first time, from the asteroid’s underground.
Ryugu is 900 meters in diameter and weighs about 450 million tons. Researchers hope to learn more about the origins of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago by analyzing the samples obtained.
They may contain organic matter, according to Makoto Yošikawa, Head of Mission. It could be a “source of life on earth.” It is also possible that asteroids once brought water to our planet.
A detailed analysis of the collected rocks and dust will begin in June next year. Part of the samples will be made available by JAXA to researchers from NASA and other countries in 2022. In 2010, the earliest Hayabus model first brought soil samples from an asteroid to Earth.