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Japan's Hayabusa2 Asteroid Ryugu Sample-Return Mission in Pictures

Asteroid Ryugu

Ground observation team: JAXA, Kyoto University, Japan Spaceguard Association, Seoul National University. ONC Team: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Univers

Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft took this photo of the asteroid Ryugu using its Optical Navigation Camera-Telescopic instrument at about 12:50 a.m. EDT on June 13, 2018 (0450 GMT), from a distance of about 570 miles (920 kilometers).

Ryugu asteroid

Ground observation team: JAXA, University of Toyko, Kyoto University, Japan Spaceguard Association, Seoul National University. ONC team: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meij

A short-exposure-time photo of the asteroid Ryugu snapped by Japan's Hayabusa2 on June 10, 2018.

Ryugu asteroid

Ground observation team: JAXA, University of Toyko, Kyoto University, Japan Spaceguard Association, Seoul National University. ONC team: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meij

The 3,000-foot-wide (900 meters) asteroid Ryugu, as seen from a distance of 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) by Japan's Hayabusa2 probe on June 10, 2018.

Hayabusa2 Earth Images

JAXA

Earth gets bigger in the window during these successive images taken by the Hayabusa2 spacecraft during its close approach on Dec. 3, 2015.

Hayabusa 2 Photo of Earth from Space

JAXA

Japan's asteroid-sampling Hayabusa 2 probe captured this image of Earth during a speed-boosting flyby on Dec. 3, 2015.

Earth and Moon Seen by Hayabusa2 Spacecraft

JAXA

Earth and the moon captured from 1.9 million miles away on Nov. 26, 2015.

Hayabusa 2 Asteroid Probe Flyby Images

JAXA

Japan's Hayabusa 2 asteroid probe captured this amazing view of the Earth and the moon together as seen from 1.8 million miles (3 million kilometers) away during an Earth flyby on Dec. 3, 2015.

Hayabusa2 Mission Rises into the Sky

JAXA

Japan's asteroid-sampling Hayabusa2 mission rises into the sky just after launching on Dec. 2, 2014 (Dec. 3 local Japan time).

Launch of Hayabusa2 Asteroid Mission

JAXA

Japan's asteroid-sampling Hayabusa2 mission launches on Dec. 2, 2014 (Dec. 3 local Japan time).

Hayabusa2 Rocket on Launch Pad

JAXA

A Japanese H-2A rocket stands poised to launch the Hayabusa2 asteroid sample-return mission from Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on Dec. 3, 2014 Japan Standard Time (late Dec. 2 EST).

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.