On December 15, 2020, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was able to confirm that a sample originating from asteroid Ryugu that was gathered during the first touchdown operation, was collected in sample chamber A within the sample container in the re-entry capsule of the asteroid explorer, Hayabusa2.

The Hayabusa2 re-entry capsule was recovered in Woomera, Australia on December 6, 2020 and transported to the JAXA Sagamihara Campus on December 8. After this, work proceeded with opening the sample container within the re-entry capsule. On December 15 at 11:00 JST, chamber A in the sample container was opened and it was confirmed to contain the sample from asteroid Ryugu that is thought to have been collected and stored during the time of the first touchdown (February 22, 2019).

We will continue with opening sample chambers B and C within the sample container, and the sample will be removed and analyzed by the curation group and initial analysis team.

Figure 1

Figure 1: sample container structure (credit: JAXA)

Figure 2

Figure 2: Inside sample chamber A (credit: JAXA).

Figure 3

Figure 3: 1st touchdown site (nickname: Tamatebako). (credit: JAXA)