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Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Japanese asteroid probe Hayabusa2 packs its space rock bag to return to Earth

Japanese asteroid probe Hayabusa2 packs its space rock bag to return to Earth



  Image taken by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft after the second sampling procedure.

Image taken by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft after the second sampling procedure.

(Image: © JAXA, Tokyo University, Kochi University, Rikio University, Nagoya University, Chiba Technical Institute, Miji University, Aizu University and AIST)

, which will carry its precious cosmic cargo back to Earth to prepare for the release of the Ruegu asteroid later this year.

This is just one step completed by the JAXA spacecraft as the agency focuses on the mission return phase.

Hayabusa2 completed its second and final sampling maneuver in July. The probable completion of the endeavor means that the spacecraft storage mechanism for the spacecraft's three chambers is filled, with fragments of rock both from the surface and from inside Rugu.

Related: Pow! Japanese Ryugu atheroid bombs Hayabusa2 to make crater (photo)

Today (26 August) JAXA confirmed that the sampling chamber was already stored in the re-entry capsule, which would be the only part of the spacecraft return to Earth. This capsule is due to arrive at the end of 2020.

On its return journey, the re-entry capsule will break through the Earth's atmosphere to land in the protected area of ​​ Woomera in the backstage of the South. Australia. Japan is working with Australia to obtain permission to install an antenna to track the location of the capsule and collect the capsule there, according to JAXA.

Earlier this month, JAXA also heard from one of two small jumping rovers placed by Hayabusa2 on Ryugu's surface in September. According to JAXA print materials, both bunkers woke up; the mission team is considering what to do with them.

The main spacecraft Hayabusa2 carries another small rover called the MINERVA-II2, which the team plans to deploy later this fall; rehearsal is scheduled for September 5.

This deployment is the final mission of the spacecraft before returning back to Earth for a year-round voyage to carry its precious space rock cargo home to scientists awaiting special delivery in 2020.

JAXA plans to take the capsule to reintroduce Hayabusa2 into the Woomera Prohibited Zone in remote South Australia.

(Credit: JAXA)

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook .


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