Japan's Hayabusa2 Asteroid Sample-Return Mission Explained (Infographic)

Diagrams show Hayabusa 2 asteroid probe.
The second in the Hayabusa series will drop probes on and take samples from asteroid 1999 JU3. (Image credit: By Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

Hayabusa means "peregrine falcon" in Japanese. The Hayabusa2 probe is an ambitious mission to make three separate landings on an asteroid, drop rovers and experiments onto its surface, and return a capsule containing asteroid samples to Earth.

Hayabusa2's target is the C-type (carbonaceous) asteroid 1999 JU3. Landing is planned for June 2018. A capsule containing asteroid samples shoud be returned to Earth in December 2020.


Hayabusa2 carries backups of hardware that failed on the first Hayabusa, helping to ensure a successful return of asteroid samples. The probe also carries a lander and a pair of rovers for exploring the asteroid’s surface. An explosive impact device (SCI) allows Hayabusa to study the asteroid’s composition from a safe distance.

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Karl Tate
Space.com contributor

Karl's association with Space.com goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining Space.com, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.