Japanese unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 has touched down on a faraway asteroid, known as Ryugu.

Developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the spacecraft performed a second touchdown on the surface of the Ryugu asteroid.

The Hayabusa2 explorer is designed as a sequel to the Hayabusa probe and used for returning asteroid samples.

The latest event is part of JAXA’s operations to collect soil samples from Ryugu through Hayabusa2.

According to the data sent from Hayabusa2, JAXA confirmed that the touchdown sequence, including the discharge of a projectile for sampling, was completed successfully.

After creating a crater into Ryugu, the spacecraft has returned to pick up fresh rubble. Samples that come from within the asteroid will have reduced exposure to the hostile environment of space, BBC reported.

According to the news agency, Hayabusa2 started its mission to reach Ryugu in 2014, launching from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center.

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Hayabusa2’s first touchdown was in February, when it fired a 5g pellet at more than 1,050km/h into its surface after landing briefly on the asteroid to puff up dust for collection, before blasting back to its holding position, reported the Guardian.

Last month, JAXA signed an implementing arrangement with Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) to analyse samples returned by the probe.

Under the agreement, CNES will provide the infrared spectroscopy microscope to be equipped in the JAXA Extraterrestrial Samples Curation Center.

It is expected that Hayabusa2 brings the specimens back to Earth next year.

Asteroids are the leftover building materials from the formation of the solar system containing water, organic compounds and precious metals.

Several companies are looking into the feasibility of asteroid mining, said BBC.