Scientists celebrated another success with Japan’s Hayabusa 2 spacecraft on 11 July when the robot explorer accomplished a second pinpoint touch-and-go landing on asteroid Ryugu, this time to collect a sample of pristine dust and rock excavated by an explosive impactor earlier this year.
Using rocket thrusters to control its descent, and guided by a laser range finder, Hayabusa 2 glacially approached Ryugu on autopilot, slowing to a relative speed of about 10 centimetres per second (4-inches per second) in the final phase of the landing.
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