PUBLISHED: 14:03, Fri, Dec 4, 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03, Fri, Dec 4, 2020
After spending six years in space, including three years travelling next to the asteroid Ryugu, Japan's Hayabusa-2 is set to return to Earth on Sunday, December 6. Hayabusa-2 left Ryugu roughly a year ago and has almost completed its 300 million kilometre (180 million miles) journey across space. By returning the samples to Earth, it will be the first time scientists have managed to collect a piece of an asteroid from space and return it to our planet.
The spacecraft is set to land somewhere in Australia, with detectors and monitors set up throughout the country so researchers from the Japanese space agency JAXA can easily find where the 40-centimetre ship will land.
Hayabusa-2 and its lander became the first of such to ever make contact with an asteroid in September 2018.
Asteroids like Ryugu are a form of time capsules from the solar system’s formation.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Because of this scientists hope the asteroid samples will offer mouthwatering insights into the history of our solar system.
Asteroid mission to touch down on Earth on Sunday 'Rare event in human history' (Image: JAXA)
Hayabusa-2 getting up close to Ryugu (Image: JAXA)
Some of the rocks on Ryugu are made up of carbonaceous chondrite, which is believed to be some of the oldest material in the solar system, dating back 4.5 billion years, and something which is rarely found on Earth.
The discovery will give scientists a better understanding of how our galactic neighbourhood and