Hayabusa2 Capsule To Return To Australia In 2020

Hayabusa2 capsule to return to Australia in 2020

Japan's space agency says it is planning for the return and recovery of the re-entry capsule of its asteroid probe Hayabusa2 in the Australian desert at the end of next year.

The space agency JAXA announced the plan, expected to be carried out in November or December, at a news conference on Thursday.

Hayabusa2 was launched in 2014 and reached the asteroid Ryugu about 300 million kilometers from Earth in June last year.

The probe has succeeded in touching down on the asteroid's surface twice this year, in an unprecedented mission to collect rock samples from underground.

JAXA is working with the Australian government on its plan for recovery of the re-entry capsule, believed to contain the rock samples, at the Woomera Prohibited Area.

This is located in the desert of South Australia, which is the same place where the capsule of the probe's predecessor, the original Hayabusa, returned to Earth in 2010.

JAXA says it has reached a basic agreement with the Australian space agency to use the same location as in 2010.

JAXA Hayabusa2 Mission Manager Makoto Yoshikawa said his team will continue to work carefully for a successful recovery operation.