The space agency of Japan (Jaxa) announced that its probe Hayabusa 2 landed successfully on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu.
Now the spacecraft will take samples of the space rock 900 meters wide, officially called 162173 Ryugu and belonging to a particularly primitive type of asteroid.
It is believed to be a relic from the early days of our Solar System, 4,600 million years ago, which means it could be rich in minerals combined with water.
Studying the rock could shed light on the molecular combinations that contributed to the origin of life on Earth.
Last September the probe Hayabusa 2 posed two small robots on the surface of the asteroid that took images of it, in what was a scientific milestone.
The images taken by the robots showed that the surface of Ryugu is more rocky than expected, so the sampling, scheduled for October, was postponed until February.
The Japanese ship arrived at Ryugu in June 2018, after more than three and a half years of travel, and managed to reach an orbit of 20 kilometers altitude, somewhat complex because of the slight gravity of the celestial body.
Hayabusa 2 will return to Earth at the end of 2020 with valuable samples from the asteroid so that scientists can analyze them in detail.