Scientists hope samples from Hayabusa 2 will provide clues about origins of life on earth

A Japanese spacecraft has “bombed” a speeding asteroid 187m (300m km) from earth in an attempt to retrieve material that could offer scientists new clues about the origins of life on earth.

The Hayabusa 2 probe released the device – called a small carry-on impact – on Friday as it hovered 500 metres above the asteroid Ryugu, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa).

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