Watch the moment Hayabusa2 grabbed rock samples from asteroid Ryuga


Inside the red circle is the shadow of the tiny target marker Hayabusa2 used to scoop up a sample of the asteroid.


Earlier this month, July 10, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft touched down briefly on asteroid Ryuga to collect samples to take back to Earth. Now, thanks to new footage released by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) we can witness the historic event take place.

It’s wild.

Hayabusa2 had been chasing Ryuga, a diamond-shaped asteroid floating near Earth, for over a year before firing a literal bullet at it to dislodge rock in the deeper areas of the asteroid. It then sent a hopping lander to the surface to collect samples for study.

As you might expect, landing on an asteroid is no easy task, and watching the touchdown as it happens is a rare treat.

Hayabusa2 is not done yet. The plan is to send another lander onto the asteroid, alongside ROVER-2, a small, lightweight robot equipped with a thermometer and cameras. Once the lander is deployed, Hayabusa2 will begin its return to Earth, flying past our planet and delivering the sample return capsule in December 2020.