UPDATE - Japan's Hayabusa2 Capsule With Asteroid Samples Successfully Lands On Earth - Mission

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 06th December, 2020) The Hayabusa2 capsule containing samples from near-Earth asteroid Ryugu has been located in Australia after a successful landing, the Hayabusa2 sample return mission operated by the Japanese space agency, JAXA, said on Twitter.

"We found the capsule! Together with the parachute!" the mission said in the early hours of Sunday, adding in a later tweet "We have posted short videos of the re-entry capsule as it passed through the Earth's atmosphere, captured from near Coober Pedy in Australia."

According to the Hayabusa2 mission, the capsule was found in the planned landing area at 04:47 Japan time on Sunday (19:47 GMT on Saturday), as a result of a helicopter search.

"The operation was perfect. We will now move into science observation operations, and observe the Earth & moon with scientific instruments," the Hayabusa2 mission said on Twitter.

In a later tweet, the mission said that the capsule was delivered to local headquarters in Australia.

"Today (12/6) at 08:03 JST [23:03 GMT on Saturday], the helicopter carrying the capsule arrived at local headquarters and the capsule was brought inside the building," the Hayabusa2 mission said, adding, however, that "the capsule is not collected until it is brought home to Japan!"

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Hayabusa2 mission was launched in December 2014. It reached Ryugu in 2018 and collected samples in 2019, some of them from beneath the asteroid's surface.

On Saturday, the Hayabusa2 probe successfully released the capsule with samples, ahead of its planned descent to Earth.

The Hayabusa2 capsule contains the first rock samples ever collected from beneath the surface of an asteroid. It is the second time that untouched material from an asteroid has been brought back to our planet and scientists expect the samples to offer clues into the origins of life on Earth.