Tokyo, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)–The Hayabusa2 unmanned asteroid probe of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, set off on its return voyage to Earth on Tuesday by activating its electric propulsion system.
The Hayabusa2 spacecraft is expected to return to Earth around December 2020 and release to the ground capsules containing stones, dirt and other samples from the asteroid Ryugu.
JAXA confirmed that the Hayabusa2 is in normal condition and steadily accelerating.
“To everyone on Earth, we just sent out presents from Ryugu,” JAXA project manager Yuichi Tsuda said in a statement released on Twitter. “Please wait with big hopes and a little worry.”