Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft plans to strike the asteroid creating a crater and dislodging rocks for analysis

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft has arrived at its target asteroid, Ryugu, after a journey of nearly 2bn miles (3.2bn km), which has taken three and a half years to accomplish. The spacecraft is now tracking the 900-metre-wide asteroid, from about 12 miles above its surface. Following analysis while in orbit, Hayabusa will begin a series of touchdowns on Ryugu this autumn.

During these manoeuvres the spacecraft will collect surface samples. It will also release a German-French rover, the MASCOT, which will hop across the asteroid.

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