Hayabusa2 dropped the capsule from space and it landed as planned in the Australian Outback over the weekend. It arrived in Japan on Tuesday and will be studied for insights into the origins of the solar system and life on Earth.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said the capsule, tightly sealed and carefully stored in a container box, arrived at its research facility in Sagamihara, near Tokyo, for analysis.
“It’s really like a dream,” said Yuichi Tsuda, the Hayabusa2 project manager. “After 5.2 billion kilometers (3.2 billion miles) of space journey which took six years, (the capsule) has returned and now it’s here with us.”
Mission officials will have to wait until next week to look inside.
“I’m anxious to find out if the samples are really inside and how much is there,” mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa said.
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