The Yomiuri ShimbunAbout 160 spectators cheered and broke into applause Thursday morning when the Hayabusa2 space probe successfully touched down a second time on the asteroid Ryugu during a public viewing in Sagamihara.
A live stream of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) control room was shown on a large screen in a conference room of the Sagamihara City Museum next to JAXA’s Sagamihara Campus.
Among the viewers was a 78-year-old man from Minami Ward, Sagamihara, who clapped his hands in joy.
“I was moved by the way the whole JAXA staff made concerted efforts to make the touchdown possible,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what kinds of clues they will find regarding the origin of life.”
A 50-year-old company worker from Kasaoka, Okayama Prefecture, said he repeatedly visited a shrine to pray for Hayabusa2’s safe journey.
“I want to go to the shrine and give thanks for the successful touchdown,” he said smiling. “I hope Hayabusa2 will come back to Earth safely.”
JAXA also posted on its website a video message sent by Brian May, the guitarist of British rock band Queen who is also an astrophysicist, on the occasion of Hayabusa2’s second touchdown. May recorded the video message before a concert in Vancouver on Tuesday. May announced that he had created new stereoscopic images of Ryugu posted on the JAXA website.
“The other news, of course, is that [Hayabusa2] is about to resample and bring more materials back off the surface [of Ryugu] back to Earth for us to study,” May said in the video message. “The world is watching. Take care, Hayabusa2.”Speech