“We found the capsule! Together with a parachute! Wow! ”He said an enthusiastic tweet after a 40-centimeter diameter object had been located from a helicopter in the Woomer Desert on a Sunday morning (local time).
The Hayabusa 2 space probe (Peregrine Falcon 2) sent the capsule with a special payload back 220,000 kilometers from Earth on Saturday. The spacecraft, which is still continuing its mission, was launched in December 2014 to collect material on Ryugu, 300 million kilometers away. It worked. These are samples from the surface and, for the first time, also from the asteroid’s subsurface.
Ryugu is 900 meters in diameter and weighs approximately 450 million tons. Scientists hope to learn more about the origin of our solar system, some 4.6 billion years ago, by analyzing the samples obtained.
According to mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa, they may contain organic matter. It may be “the source of life on earth.” It is also possible that asteroids once brought water to our planet.
Detailed analyzes of the collected rock and dust will begin in June next year. Some of the samples will be made available by JAXA, NASA and researchers in other countries in 2022. In 2010, the earlier Hayabusa model brought soil samples to Earth from the asteroid for the first time.