Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Hayabusa2 unmanned probe on Wednesday started descending toward Ryugu for its second landing on the asteroid about 340 million kilometers from Earth, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.
Hayabusa2 is slated to touch down on the asteroid shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday.
The spacecraft made its first landing in February.
After landing near an artificial crater created by an explosive device called an impactor in April, Hayabusa2 will engage in the world’s first attempt to collect underground samples of an asteroid.
The probe began the descent at 10:46 a.m. Wednesday from a point about 20 kilometers above Ryugu, after JAXA conducted a check for any mechanical or other problems with the probe earlier in the day.Speech