Asteroid sample returned to Earth…

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A capsule containing a sample from a distant asteroid has been successfully returned to Earth and will soon be available for study, thanks to a Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) mission called Hayabusa2.

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft visited asteroid Ryugu and collected a sample before bringing it back to Earth as part of a mission that has lasted six years so far. The sample was placed in a capsule and sent down to Earth, and the spacecraft will now carry on its mission by visiting another asteroid.

As the capsule entered the atmosphere, it could be seen streaking across the sky in a fireball which was visible in many parts of the world. It was even visible from the International Space Station, where JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi spotted it pass him by.

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