The Japanese probe “Hayabusa2” separated the capsule on Saturday while it was flying past the earth. As soon as the container entered the earth’s atmosphere at a speed of twelve kilometers per second, it was slowed down by the air envelope with a high level of heat of up to around 3000 degrees Celsius. At a height of around ten kilometers above Australia, a parachute opened, on which the capsule floated to earth, emitting radio signals that a Jaxa team used to locate it with a helicopter.
Unlike the first “Hayabusa”, which burned up when it entered the earth’s atmosphere, “Hayabusa2” continues its mission: It is now on its way to the near-Earth asteroid “1998KY26”. The probe should arrive there in ten years. “Hayabusa2” started in Japan in December 2014 – the probe reached its destination 300 million kilometers away after almost four years.
Incidentally, the asteroid Ryugu is one of the high carbon asteroids and comes from the outer part of the asteroid belt that orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter. The previous probe “Hayabusa” (peregrine falcon) brought soil samples from an asteroid to Earth for the first time in the world.