The Hayabusa2 probe made a “perfect” touchdown Thursday on a distant asteroid and collected samples from beneath the surface in an unprecedented mission that could shed light on the origins of the solar system. “We’ve collected a part of the solar system’s history,” Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) project manager Yuichi Tsuda said at a jubilant news conference in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, hours after the successful landing was confirmed. “We have never gathered subsurface material from a celestial body further away than the moon,” he added. “We did it and we succeeded in a world first.” The fridge-sized probe made its second landing on the asteroid around 10:30 a.m., with officials from JAXA breaking into applause and cheers at the mission control room in Sagamihara as initial data suggested the touchdown had been a success. Confirmation of the landing came only after Hayabusa2 lifted back up from the asteroid and resumed communications with the control room….
Source: In world first, Japan’s Hayabusa2 probe collects samples from distant asteroid after ‘perfect’ touchdown