It’s only the second time pristine astroid material has been brought back to Earth.

A Japanese space capsule carrying astroid samples landed in a remote area of Australia as planned Saturday, Japan’s space agency, JAXA, said.
Why it matters via Axios’ Miriam Kramer:It’s only the second time pristine asteroid material has been brought back to Earth. Sample return missions like this one are incredibly valuable to scientists. While the instruments onboard the spacecraft have gotten more advanced in recent years, they still pale in comparison to the tools available to researchers in labs on Earth.
Details: Hayabusa2, a robotic space probe, was launched by Japans space agency in 2014 to explore the Ryugu asteroid, about 180 million miles away.

  • After releasing the sample capsule, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft moved away from Earth to capture images of the capsule as it set off on a new mission to another distant asteroid, AP reported.
  • JAXA said it found the capsule via a helicopter search in the planned area in southern Australia later on Saturday.

What they’re saying: It was great … It was a beautiful fireball, and I was so impressed, said JAXAs Hayabusa2 project manager Yuichi Tsuda, per AP.

  • Ive waited for this day for six years.

What’s next: China has a mission that is planning to return samples from the Moon later this month.