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A Japanese spacecraft is about to send a 'treasure box' of asteroid dust plummeting to Earth. Watch the sample return live

Posted On: Dec 4, 2020   |   Posted By: Business Insider

A Japanese spacecraft is about to send a 'treasure box' of asteroid dust plummeting to Earth. Watch the sample return live

Summary List Placement A Japanese spacecraft is set to return from its asteroid-blasting mission on Saturday. In a dramatic finale, the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft is expected to send at least 100 milligrams of alien space rock plummeting into the Australian outback.
The sample comes from asteroid Ryugu: a primitive, half-mile-wide rock that zips through our solar system up to 131 million miles from the sun. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched Hayabusa-2 in 2014 with the goal of collecting the first sample of material from below an asteroid's surface.
The spacecraft first landed on Ryugu in February to collect shallow samples from the surface. But scientists knew that probing deeper could reveal more pure rock from the beginnings of our solar system, since that material hasn't been exposed to harsh radiation from the sun.
So in April 2019, Hayabusa-2 blasted a 33-foot crater into the asteroid using a copper plate and a box of explosives. That loosened rocks and exposed...

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