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Hayabusa2: The Odyssey to explore the origins of life [3:00]

Movie script

Hayabusa2 journeyed 300 million km to the asteroid Ryugu to explore the mystery of how life began.
A mission that challenged the limits

The first touchdown on Ryugu
The perils — and the light at the end of the tunnel

Kota Matsushima
Space Systems Division, NEC:

When a spacecraft is 300 million km away, signals take almost 30 mins. to get there and back.
So we had to send commands to Hayabusa2 30 mins. ahead.

The greatest difficulty we encountered was, there were very few flat areas on Ryugu to touch down on.

Tetsuya Masuda
Space Systems Division, NEC:

We were informed there was a flat site with a radius of — it must have been barely 15 m so we dropped a target marker there.
But there was a boulder in the middle of the site.
We'd dropped the marker so close, and yet, it seemed, it had all been for nothing.

Kota Matsushima:
One technology really came in handy at that point:
the sharp images obtained when we dropped the target marker.
The better the resolution of your camera, the more it tells you about what you're up against.

And when you know exactly what you're up against, you can take the right steps to deal with it.
So this technology played a huge role.

Also vital was the technology that made it possible to hit the target literally dead on, as man and machine worked together seamlessly on the approach.

The second touchdown
Collecting the first-ever underground asteroid samples

Tetsuya Masuda:
We needed to obtain the freshest samples we could.
And the best way was to obtain the samples from underground.
That's why we chose to use the SCI.
Things got really tense around the time the SCI exploded.
We were still in contact, but nobody knew what might happen next.

What if we suddenly lost radio contact?

We were all so nervous.

But we weren't going to give up.
We were determined to pull off what had never been done before.
Everyone was really highly motivated.

【Audio of the control room】
77, 78, 79…

Tetsuya Masuda:
The experience built up overcoming the challenges of the first HAYABUSA mission proved invaluable.
It's truly a daunting task to do the initial work and create something from scratch.
We're really proud to have picked up the mantle by accomplishing even more than the first mission.

Passing on the mantle

Tetsuya Masuda:
The important thing for me going forward is to pass on my experience and dedication for the benefit of the next mission, the next generation.

Kota Matsushima:
We intend to stay true to our long heritage of achievement, and we look forward to passionately throwing ourselves into new challenges.

The challenge continues for Hayabusa2 — and NEC.

Orchestrating a brighter world


Hayabusa2, the asteroid explorer, returns back to Earth on December 6th, 2020 with fragments of asteroid Ryugu. Recognized for its many world-first achievements, what kind of journey did Hayabusa2 have in exploring the origins of life? See and hear from the actual NEC engineers that supported the challenge of Hayabusa2.
NEC's challenge into space continues.

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(October 7, 2020)