Australian Support for Japanese Space Efforts


The Department of Defence and the Australian Space Agency are supporting the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) Hayabusa2 mission to return the first ever sub-surface asteroid samples to Earth from the asteroid Ryugu. The Hayabusa2 sample return capsule landed in the Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA) on 6 December 2020.

Hayabusa2 departed Ryugu in November 2019, with the return journey taking just over one year to reach back to Earth. The capsule will return to the ground with samples from Ryugu while the Hayabusa2 spacecraft will re-join its interplanetary transfer orbit.
The samples from the 4.5 billion year old asteroid will help scientists study the origin and evolution of the solar system, including the origin of organic matters and water of Earth’s oceans and the source of life.

A team of mission specialists from JAXA will conduct the sample recovery mission in the WPA, supported by a specialist team from NASA who will conduct airborne observations of the re-entry.

The movie below was taken on February 22, 2019(JSTwhen Hayabusa2 first touched down on asteroid Ryugu to collect a sample from the surface.

It was captured using the onboard small monitor camera(CAM-H). The video playback speed is five times faster than actual time.

Credit: JAXA