Spacecraft will shoot pellet at more than 650mph into Ryugu’s surface to kick up dust

A Japanese spacecraft is to attempt an audacious smash-and-grab manoeuvre on a speeding asteroid in an attempt to collect samples and return them to Earth.

The Hayabusa 2 probe is due to touch down on the asteroid Ryugu at 11pm GMT on Thursday. It will then fire a tantalum pellet into the surface to kick up dust and grains that it will try to capture.

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