Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe makes second touchdown on asteroid: space agency

This handout photograph taken and released by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on July 11, 2019 shows researchers and employees holding a briefing at the Hayabusa2 mission control room in Sagamihara city, Kanagawa prefecture. – Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe neared a distant asteroid on July 11 as it descended for a final touchdown, hoping to collect samples that could shed light on the evolution of the solar system. (Photo by Yutaka IIJIMA / ISAS-JAXA / AFP) 

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe touched down on a distant asteroid on Thursday, the country’s space agency said, on a mission to collect samples that could shed light on the history of the solar system.

“The control room received Doppler data showing that the probe appears to have touched down successfully,” Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency spokesman Takayuki Tomobe told AFP.

“But Doppler only shows the speed and altitude so we will need definitive confirmation,” he added. Additional data readings are expected later in the day.

© Agence France-Presse