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A Japanese spacecraft has landed on an asteroid after blasting it with a bullet. The mission will bring back rock samples to Earth.

A Japanese spacecraft has landed on an asteroid after blasting it with a bullet. The mission will bring back rock samples to Earth.




The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 has landed on the surface of an asteroid called Ryugu that's over 5.5 million miles from Earth.




Ryugu is a carbon-rich rock that could hold clues to the history of our solar system. The rock might contain amino acids, the essential building blocks of life.




Hayabusa-2 blasted a hole in the asteroid in April in order to collect samples from subsurface rock that's been sheltered from the wear and tear of space.




NASA is also conducting a mission to visit an asteroid and collect samples, but without the explosives.




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.



The life of an asteroid is lonely. The rocks spend eons drifting through the cold vacuum of space.
But on Wednesday, the asteroid Ryugu welcomed a special visitor: Japan's Hayabusa-2 probe successfully landed on the asteroid's surface at 9:06 p.m. ET.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched Hayabusa-2 into space in December 2014. Its mission: explore and collect samples from Ryugu, a primitive asteroid half-a-mile in diameter that orbits the sun at a distance up to 131 million miles (211 million kilometers).
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