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It's a banner year for sample return missions. In 2020, China, Japan, and the United States are all scheduled to have sample return missions in flight, seeking to retrieve material from near-Earth asteroids, the Moon, and eventually Mars.
Japan's sample return spacecraft only has about 3 months left at asteroid Ryugu. Its next action will be to drop more stuff on the surface.
JAXA's sample collection spacecraft touched down just 60 centimeters away from its aimpoint.
Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft has touched down on Ryugu for a second time, bagging samples which hopefully contain material from the subsurface of the asteroid.
Two feature articles bring you the excitement and science of exploring two very different representatives of the solar system's smaller worlds.
IN THE EARLY hours of 22 February, light was just beginning to brighten the campus of JAXA’s Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences (ISAS) in Kanagawa, Japan. It should have been a quiet time, but the Hayabusa2 control room was packed with people. We were about to land on an asteroid.
The reflective softball-sized sphere will give the spacecraft a visual guide during a second potential sample collection.
The spacecraft is healthy and safe, but time is running out to collect a second sample from asteroid Ryugu.
Hayabusa2's SCI experiment fell toward Ryugu for 40 minutes before detonating about 300 meters above the surface.
Hayabusa2 successfully used its explosive-packed SCI experiment to create an artificial crater on asteroid Ryugu.
The Hayabusa2 team held a press briefing last week at LPSC to report newly published results on asteroid Ryugu.
The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft will deploy its Small Carry-on Impactor experiment, SCI, on 5 April.
The mission is also gearing up for a possible second sample collection.
The spacecraft fired a bullet into the surface and unleashed a massive spray of debris.
Touchdown occurred at about 22:49 UTC on 21 February, and the spacecraft is healthy.
More than 4 years after launch and a half year surveying asteroid Ryugu, Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft is ready for sample collection.
Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft will try to collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu during the week of 18 February, mission officials said during a press briefing last week.
The spacecraft will spend the end of 2018 a safe distance from Ryugu, as the Sun's position makes communications with Earth spotty.
Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft was scheduled to touch down on Ryugu later this month, but that has been delayed to early 2019.
When planetary scientist Brittney Cooper was scrolling through the downlinked images of Hayabusa2’s approach of asteroid Ryugu, a familiar sight caught her attention.
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