An important event for astronomy happened yesterday. The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft dropped a container with soil samples from the asteroid Ryugu onto Earth.
Hayabusa 2 was launched in 2014. In 2018, it approached an asteroid, and later the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on the surface of an asteroid was made. True, it was not the Hayabusa 2 itself, but the small robotic vehicles Rover-1A and Rover-1B. Hayabusa 2 itself landed on Ryugu in 2019, taking soil samples. A few months later, the device fired a copper projectile at the asteroid to collect samples from greater depths.
The probe left the asteroid in November last year, and on December 5, 2020 (Moscow time), flying past the Earth, dropped a capsule with samples. She landed in South Australia, where scientists were already waiting for her. The mission was successful, and Hayabusa 2 itself went to its next target – asteroid (98943) 2001 CC. True, he will come to him only in 2031.