Hayabusa-2 now departing Ryugu

RyuguJapan’s Hayabusa-2 uncrewed spacecraft, carrying samples of material from asteroid 162173 Ryugu, begins its long trip home after spending nearly a year and a half in Ryugu’s orbit, where it deposited autonomous robotic landers and fired a projectile into Ryugu’s surface to loosen material for capture and return to Earth. First launched in 2014, Hayabusa-2’s return trajectory to Earth is expected to bring the samples of asteroid material home to a safe landing in Australia in late 2020.