Japan to launch 2nd generation asteroid explorer Monday

Japan to launch 2nd generation asteroid explorer Monday

Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced Saturday they will launch their second-generation Hayabusa2 asteroid explorer on Dec 1.

"After carefully examining the weather conditions at an emergency meeting today, we have decided to conduct the launch on Dec 1 (Monday) 2014. The launch time will be at 1:22:43 p.m.", Xinhua quoted a release posted on JAXA's website as saying.

The Japanese space agency announced Friday that the launch of Hayabusa2 originally scheduled on Sunday has been rescheduled due to weather conditions.

"The launch may be delayed further depending on weather conditions and other factors," said the release.

JAXA intends to land Hayabusa2 on an asteroid orbiting between Earth and Mars. It is set to be launched by an H-2A rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan's southwestern Kagoshima prefecture.

Hayabusa2 will embark on a six-year journey to collect samples from an asteroid called 1999 JU3. Scientists expect the mission to shed light on the origins of the solar system and life on Earth.

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