TOKYO (CNN) – Three years into the mission, a Japanese spaceship has reached a diamond-shaped asteroid to learn about the origins of Earth.
The Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrived at the asteroid on Wednesday after it was launched on a 300 million kilometer journey from Earth in December 2014, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said
The spacecraft is about 20 kilometers from the Asteroids removed it will introduce a projectile into the rock to dig samples below the surface.
Later, Hayabusa2 will sit on the asteroid and collect the samples. It will leave Ryugu in December 2019 and eventually return to Earth by the end of 2020.
Under their desolate surface, asteroids are said to contain a wealth of information about the formation of the solar system billions of years ago.
The Japanese Space Agency said it hopes to explore some of the "minerals, water and organic matter" of the asteroid to "learn about the origin and evolution of the Earth".
The characteristic diamond form of Ryugu initially assumed The team surprised despite its years of careful planning.
"From a distance, Ryugu first appeared round, then gradually became a square before getting a beautiful shape similar to fluorite – known in Japanese as" firefly stone. "The space agency said in a statement.
"This form of Ryugu is scientifically surprising and also poses some technical challenges," it said of difficulties, including landing, on the unusually shaped asteroid.
That said, the team has already accomplished a tremendous feat by reaching the 900-meter wide rock – something it describes as equivalent, a 6-centimeter (2.4-inch) target at 20,000 kilometers (12,400 kilometers) Miles).  "In other words, the arrival in Ryugu is the same as reaching a 6 centimeter target in Brazil from Japan," the agency said.