A Japanese spacecraft has snagged a sample of dust from an asteroid zooming through space more than 151 million miles from Earth.
Hayabusa2 could have easily been done when it grabbed its first sample in February, but the team behind the spacecraft decided to collect another sample before returning home.
This sample was grabbed right next to a crater that Hayabusa2 made on Ryugu This sample was grabbed right next to a crater that Hayabusa2 made on Ryugu.
Those relatively pristine conditions mean that Hayabusa2’s latest sample may provide a nice snapshot of some of the materials that were around when our cosmic neighborhood first formed.
Hayabusa2’s samples could hold important clues about what asteroids might have transported to Earth when it was still a newborn world.
Image: JAXA Hayabusa2 likely has materials from two samples in its collection chamber, though researchers won’t know for sure until the spacecraft returns.
However, Japanese researchers are confident that Hayabusa2 got materials on both sample grabs.