TOKYO, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The space probe Hayabusa2 has successfully touched down on the asteroid Ryugu, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Thursday.
The successful touch-down is the second for the space probe, and JAXA said it began its descent to the Ryugu on Wednesday morning from an altitude of 20,000 meters.
After analyzing data sent by the probe, JAXA said just before 11:00 a.m. local time that Hayabusa2 had touched down successfully.
Its final descent to the asteroid from a height of 30 meters was made while the probe was on autonomous mode.
Due to there being a 14-minute delay to transmit information between Earth and the space probe, technicians and engineers were on tenterhooks as the probe made its final autonomous approach to the asteroid's surface.
Local media reported that engineers controlling and tracking the mission from the mission control center in Sagamihara City, near Tokyo, burst into applause upon seeing the data that confirmed the probe's successful landing.
The probe, during its second visit to Ryugu having touched down on its targeted area which measures just 7 meters in width, will attach the end of a cylindrical container to the surface of the asteroid and fire a small projectile from it and "suck" up the debris as it floats up the container.
The probe will also collect rock samples from underground that were fragmented when the probe first fired a projectile making an artificial crater in April, JAXA said.