Hayabusa2 probe makes 'perfect' touchdown on asteroid
Japan Today -- Jul 12
Japan's Hayabusa2 probe made a "perfect" touchdown Thursday on a distant asteroid, collecting samples from beneath the surface in an unprecedented mission that could shed light on the origins of the solar system.

"We've collected a part of the solar system's history," project manager Yuichi Tsuda said at a jubilant press conference hours after the successful landing was confirmed.

"We have never gathered sub-surface material from a celestial body further away than the Moon," he added.

"We did it and we succeeded in a world first."

The fridge-sized probe made its second landing on the asteroid around 10:30am (0130GMT), with officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) breaking into applause and cheers as initial data suggested the touchdown had been a success.

Confirmation of the landing came only after Hayabusa2 lifted back up from the asteroid and resumed communications with the control room.

Research director Takashi Kubota told reporters that the touchdown operation was "more than perfect."

And Tsuda, with a grin, said he rated it "1000 points out of 100."

"The probe moved perfectly and the team's preparation work was perfect," he said.

探査機『はやぶさ2』は11日朝、小惑星『リュウグウ』への2回目の着陸に成功し、内部の石を採取するという世界初のミッションを達成した。内部の石は、太陽光や宇宙線による変質が少ないと考えられ、今回の採取によって、より生命の誕生の解明に近付くことができる可能性があるという。はやぶさ2は、年末までにリュウグウを離れ、約1年かけて採取したものを持ち帰ってくる予定となっている。

News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
Jul 18
Ornately decorated floats paraded through Japan's ancient capital Kyoto on Wednesday at the climax of the annual Gion Festival. (NHK)
Jul 18
Johnny & Associates Inc., one of the most powerful talent agencies in Japan, is suspected of having pressured commercial broadcasting television stations to stop inviting three former members of popular boy band SMAP on their shows after they left the office in 2017, sources familiar with the matter said Wednesday. (Kyodo)
Jul 18
A Japanese policeman stabbed another officer by mistake during training when he used a real knife instead of a replica. (NHK)
Jul 18
Tokyo DisneySea will launch a new flight simulator attraction Tuesday that promises to make visitors feel as if they are soaring over famous landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian pyramids. (Japan Times)
Jul 17
School-related matters led to more suicides last year among youth aged between 10 and 19 than any other issue, the government said Tuesday in its annual paper on the topic. (Japan Times)
Jul 17
Over two weeks of cloudy and rainy days in Tokyo and nearby areas has resulted in higher vegetable prices and sluggish sales of summer clothing. (Japan Times)
Jul 17
Former Emperor Akihito briefly suffered from cerebral anemia last week, forcing him to postpone his regular health checkup, the Imperial Household Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Jul 17
Toyota Motor Corp. and Japan's space exploration agency said Tuesday they have signed a three-year agreement to jointly research and develop a rover to be sent to the Moon in 2029. (Kyodo)
Jul 16
The Tokyo metropolitan region experienced another cloudy and rainy day on Monday, marking the 18th straight day in which the country’s capital has seen less than three hours of sunshine per day. (Japan Today)
Jul 16
The sounds of chanting men carrying huge, decorated floats signaled the climax of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival. Each float weighs more than one ton. (NHK)