A Japanese probe was sent to collect samples from a 300 million-kilometer-distant asteroid to gain clues about the origin of life, and the solar system successfully landed on Friday, scientists said.
Hayabusa2 briefly struck the Ryugu asteroid, shot a bullet into the surface to inflate dust for collection, and returned to its hold, officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said.
A live Webcast of the control room showed dozens of JAXA employees nervously watching data before the touchdown before being acclaimed after receiving a signal from Hayabusa2.
"We have completed a successful touchdown, including the shot of a bullet" in the Ryugu Asteroid, Yuichi Tsuda, project manager of Hayabusa2, told reporters.
"We have made the ideal touchdown in the best conditions," he said.
The complicated procedure took less time than expected and seemed to run smoothly, said Hayabusa2 mission manager Makoto Yoshikawa.
"I'm really relieved now, it felt like a very long time before the touchdown took place," he said.
He said that dropping the bullet ̵
It is believed that the asteroid contains relatively large amounts of organic matter and water, which formed about 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born
During a later mission, Hayabusa2 will eventually fire an "impactor" to explode material below the surface of Ryugu, so that "fresh" material can be collected that is not exposed to wind and radiation for millennia.
Scientists hope that these samples could provide answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including the question of whether elements from outer space have promoted life on Earth.
Former Queen rocker and space fan Brian May tweeted, "Hurray. Brilliant success in setting up on Ryugu."  Gyro
Communication with Hayabusa2 is intermittently interrupted because the antennas are not always pointed at the earth and it may take several days for the missile to actually be fired samples.
The mission was not easy to sail, and the probe's landing was originally planned for last year.
But it was pushed back after surveys hit the asteroid's surf The ace was more robust than originally thought, forcing JAXA to spend more time finding a suitable landing pad.
The Hayabusa2 mission, with a cost of around 30 billion yen ($ 270 million), was launched in December 2014 and is expected to return to Earth in 2020 with its samples.
Photos of Ryugu – which means "dragon" means "palace" in Japanese and refers to a castle on the seabed in an ancient Japanese story – depict an asteroid shaped somewhat like a roundabout with a rough surface.
Hayabusa2 Sensing Equipment has also deployed two small MINERVA II rover robots and the French-German MASCOT robot to observe the surface.
Scientists already have data from them on the surface of the asteroid
At Approximately the size of a large refrigerator, Hayabusa2 is equipped with solar panels and is the successor to JAXA's first asteroid researcher, Hayabusa – Japanese for Hawks.
This probe returned in 2010 from a smaller potato-shaped asteroid with dust samples back d Despite various setbacks during his seven years Odyssey he was celebrated as a scientific triumph.
Japanese probe Hayabusa2 set for asteroid landing