Posted on Sunday, December 07, 2014
By Kadri
Japan launched its second spacecraft for an asteroid mission - Hayabusa 2 - the successor to the first Hayabusa mission that was launched in 2003 and returned to Earth in 2010 with grains of asteroid material as samples.

In the Hayabusa 2 mission, the previous missions weak spots have been overcome - the ion engine has been improved and sample collecting mechanisms have been updated.

Hayabusa 2 was launched on December 3rd, 2014, and is expected to reach it's destination, the asteroid 1999 JU3 in 2018 an return to Earth in 2020.

The asteroid 1999 JU3 belongs to the Apollo asteroids class that orbit the Sun near Earth with their closest approaches to the Sun closer to the Sun than the Earth's orbit and furthest points in their orbit outside of the Earth's orbit making them potentially hazardous in astronomical timescales.

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