What is it all about? Well, Hayabusa2 was launched in 2014 and. After the spacecraft was able to grab samples of underground material from the space rock – possibly the first time a spacecraft has done so – and store it in the capsule that will return to Earth this weekend.
Until JAXA scientists and engineers get back to Japan, we don’t know exactly what was captured, but it seems incredibly likely that we will be able to pry into an asteroid for the first time. The material trapped in it can tell us about the early solar system and explain how water was carried to the planet in its formative years.
JAXA will provide a live stream of the event from Mission Control. Streaming starts at 9 a.m.PT on Saturday, December 5. The broadcast is expected to last approximately 70 minutes, but can extend to 90 minutes. That’s a few seconds after the fireball is expected to appear and whether there will be visibility from the ground when the spacecraft returns to Earth is currently uncertain.
“Given the nature of our activities with the minimum number of team members in Woomera, we can’t promise anything, but if it does, it will be live streamed from Sagamihara, Japan,” said Masaki Fujimoto, deputy director of the Institute of Space. and Astronautical Science at JAXA.
That livestream can be viewed below. More than 80 scientists and engineers from JAXA are currently stationed in Woomera and the nearby town of Coober Pedy, ready to spring into action as Hayabusa2 Ubers brings its asteroid monster to Earth.