The unmanned Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 sent a small capsule to float over the surface of the asteroid Ryugu, confirms the Japanese space agency JAXA. Onboard is a robber about 15 centimeters wide.
The Minerva-II2 capsule was deployed about a kilometer from the surface of Ryugu, the asteroid that lies between the earth and the mars. It will make eight revolutions around Ryugu over the next five days and then lower the predator onto the surface, says Jaxa.
With the Hayabusa-2 mission, the space agency wants to find out more about the origins of life and the solar system. The Hayabusa-2 previously collected samples from under the surface of an asteroid, which has never been done before.
The spacecraft was launched in December 2014 from the Tanegashima space center in southern Japan and is expected to return to Earth by the end of 2020 with steel, the agency reports.
The first landing on Ryugu happened in February. Then samples from the surface were collected alone.