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Japan launches smaller probe following Philae comet mission


A Japanese space probe named Hayabusa 2 blasted off on Wednesday, setting off on a six-year round trip to a land on an asteroid, blow a hole in it and collect samples that scientists hope will help reveal the origins of life.

The launch of the probe, postponed twice because of bad weather, comes less than a month after a European Space Agency probe landed on a comet in a pioneering mission, only to have the lander run out of power due to lack of sunlight on its solar panels.

Hayabusa means peregrine falcon in Japanese.

The probe will map the surface of the asteroid before touching down, deploying small explosives to blast a crater and then collect resulting debris.


From The Guardian - For the Full article GO HERE

Asteroids are believed to have formed at the dawn of the solar system and the probe’s target is one called 1999 JU3, which scientists believe contains organic matter that may have contributed to life on Earth.

The probe is expected to arrive at the asteroid in mid-2018 and return with samples in 2020, the year Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games.