The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is pleased to confirm that samples from asteroid Ryugu have been collected within the sample container inside the re-entry capsule of the asteroid explorer, Hayabusa2.

The Hayabusa2 re-entry capsule was recovered in Woomera, Australia on December 6, 2020 and delivered to the JAXA Sagamihara Campus on December 8. Work then began to open the sample container inside the re-entry capsule. On December 14, a sample of grains of black sand thought to be derived from asteroid Ryugu was confirmed to be inside the sample container. These are believed to be particles attached to the entrance of the sample catcher (the container in which the samples have been stored).

Work will continue with opening the sample catcher that sits in the sample container. The curation and initial analysis team will remove the samples and proceed with the analysis.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Sample container structure (credit: JAXA)

Figure 2

Figure 2: image of the inside of the sample container, taken with the scope camera (credit: JAXA)