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Japan awaits spacecraft return with asteroid soil samples

Added 12-05-20 12:03:01am EST - “Japan's space agency said its final checks confirmed the Hayabusa2 spacecraft is on track to return to Earth a capsule containing samples from a distant asteroid that could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life…” - Washingtontimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtontimes.com: “Japan awaits spacecraft return with asteroid soil samples”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

TOKYO (AP) - Japan’s space agency said its final checks confirmed the Hayabusa2 spacecraft is on track to return to Earth a capsule containing samples from a distant asteroid that could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on our planet.

The spacecraft is making its final approach on its planned trajectory and is scheduled to separate the capsule Saturday afternoon from 220,000 kilometers (136,700 miles) away in a challenge requiring precision control. The capsule is programed to land in a remote, sparsely populated area of Woomera, Australia, on Sunday.

Hayabusa2 left the asteroid Ryugu, about 300 million kilometers (180 million miles) away, a year ago and was flying smoothly as planned, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said.

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“We trained ourselves and now we are fully prepared. So I’m just praying that equipment that hasn’t been used yet will work well and that there will be good weather in Australia,” Yuichi Tsuda, Hayabusa2 project manager at JAXA, said Friday. “We are so excited.”

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