Japan space explorer arrives at asteroid to collect samples

  • This image taken on June 24, 2018 and provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows asteroid of Ryugu that asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 was expected to reach as its target. The image was taken in the distance of about 40 kilometers (25 miles) between the explorer and the asteroid. The Japanese space explorer that will try to blow a crater in an asteroid and bring back samples from inside is nearing its destination after a 3 1/2 -year journey. The unmanned Hayabusa2 has arrived at the asteroid Wednesday, June 27, 2018, about 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth.(JAXA and partner institutions via AP)

  • This computer graphics image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 landing on a crater that it made. The Japanese space explorer that will try to blow a crater in an asteroid and bring back samples from inside is nearing its destination after a 3 1/2 -year journey. The unmanned Hayabusa2 has arrived at the asteroid Wednesday, June 27, 2018, about 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth. (JAXA via AP)

  • This computer graphics image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows an asteroid and asteroid explorer Hayabusa2. The Japanese space explorer that will try to blow a crater in an asteroid and bring back samples from inside is nearing its destination after a 3 1/2 -year journey. The unmanned Hayabusa2 has arrived at the asteroid Wednesday, June 27, 2018, about 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth.(JAXA via AP)

TOKYO — A Japanese space explorer arrived at an asteroid Wednesday after a 3½-year journey to undertake a first-ever experiment: blow a crater in the rocky surface to collect samples and bring them back to Earth.

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