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Japan to launch six-year asteroid mission

Japan to launch six-year asteroid mission

TOKYO: Japan to launch a space probe on a six year mission after the event was postponed due to bad weather.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said that Hayabusa2 is now programmed to blast off aboard Japan’s main H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Center is expected to reach the asteroid in mid 2018 and will spend around 18 months studying the surface.

The 31 billion yen ($260 million) project is sending a search towards the unpoetically named 1999 JU3 asteroid in deep space.

The agency had initially planned to launch the rocket on Sunday but a forecast of thick cloud over the weekend forced the agency to delay the launch.

It will blast a crater in the asteroid to collect virgin materials unexposed to millennia of solar wind and radiation, in the hope of answering some fundamental questions about life and the universe.