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Japanese Space Capsule Returns to Earth, Recovered from Australia's Outback

By Julia Xiao


After being launched in 2014, a Japanese spacecraft concluded its 3.25 billion mile journey of discovery that may provide clues about the origins of life on Earth.


Bits of the asteroid that Hayabusa2, the space probe sent to explore an asteroid named Ryugu, ferried to Earth landed in a barren region near Woomera, South Australia.


The success of the mission and its scientific discoveries would raise Japan as a central player in space exploration. JAXA, Japan’s space agency, currently has a spacecraft in orbit around Venus studying the planet’s climate and is collaborating with Europeans to explore Mercury.


In the following years, Japan plans to explore moons of other planets and contribute to NASA’s Artemis program to send astronauts to the moon.


An obstacle arose when trying to recover the return capsule, landing somewhere amid thousands of miles in a region North of Adelaide, the nearest city. However, the mission’s managers were able to detect a radio signal from a beacon in the capsule.


Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/05/science/japan-asteroid-hayabusa2-woomera.html

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