- Japanese ... agency
- 宇宙航空研究開発機構 (JAXA) のこと（後出 Institute ... Science は宇宙科学研究所）
- 着地する（後出 landing は着地、touch down は接地・着陸する、touchdown は接地、着陸）
- (be) eager to ～
- mission control
- light (→lit) up
- yield ～
- organic material
- solar system
- (be) slated to ～
Japanese space agency officials said the capsule from the agency's Hayabusa2 space probe landed safely in the southern Australian desert on Dec. 6 with soil samples from the distant asteroid Ryugu. They said they were eager to analyze the "treasure" inside the capsule, called "Tamatebako."
Six years and 5.2 billion kilometers on from its launch, Project Manager Tsuda Yuichi hailed Hayabusa2's success at a news conference held at the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), saying, "Its space and sample collection operations were perfect. We're really looking forward to opening the capsule. If I were to score it out of 100, I'd give it 10,000."
At around 2 a.m. that same day, the fireball of the capsule, about 40 centimeters in diameter, was observed, and mission control lit up when its landing was confirmed.
Scientists say they believe the samples, especially ones taken from under the asteroid's surface, will yield valuable information unaffected by space radiation and other environmental factors. They are interested in organic materials in the samples that may provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth. Asteroids are among the oldest objects in the solar system and therefore may help explain how Earth evolved.
Since its launch on Dec. 3, 2014, the Hayabusa2 mission has been entirely successful. It touched down twice on Ryugu despite the asteroid's extremely rocky surface, and collected data and samples during the one and a half years it spent near Ryugu after arriving there in June 2018.
In its first touchdown in February 2019, it collected surface dust samples. In a more challenging mission in July that year, it collected underground samples from the asteroid for the first time in space history after landing in a crater that it created earlier by blasting the asteroid's surface.
It's not the end of the road for the Hayabusa2, however. It is now heading to a small asteroid called 1998KY26 on a journey slated to take 11 years one-way.
(Compiled from AP and Mainichi reports)
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