The Japanese house probe with asteroid rocks lands within the Australian outback

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© Reuters. A fireball from Hayabusa2's capsule, which contains the first extensive samples of an asteroid, is seen re-entering the Earth's atmosphere

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A Japanese space probe with the first extensive samples of an asteroid has completed its six-year mission and landed safely in the remote Australian outback, the Japanese space agency said on Sunday.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa2 mission seeks to answer some fundamental questions about the origins of the solar system and the origins of molecules like water.

The spacecraft, which was launched from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center in 2014, took four years to reach the asteroid Ryugu before sampling and returning to Earth in November 2019.

Asteroids are believed to have formed early in the solar system, and scientists say these may contain organic matter that may have contributed to life on Earth.

The capsule lit up early Sunday when it re-entered the earth's atmosphere and landed in the Woomera restricted area, about 460 kilometers north of Adelaide, where it was found by scientists and taken to a local research station, JAXA said.

"The helicopter with the capsule arrived at the local headquarters and the capsule was brought into the building," the agency said on Twitter.

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