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What's New in Lunar & Planetary Science

The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa 2 sample return mission to asteroid 1999 JU3 was launched successfully on Dec. 3 at 04:22:04 UT (11:22 p.m. Dec. 2 EST). The spacecraft will reach the asteroid in June 2018 and the sample will be returned to Earth in December 2020. Also launched with Hayabusa 2 was the PROCYON asteroid flyby small satellite.

The European Space Agency Philae Lander has gone into hibernation on comet 67 P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after its last communication session on 15 November. For more, see the ESA Release and http://rosetta.esa.int/

China's Chang'e 5 Test Vehicle capsule successfully landed near Huofutan in Inner Mongolia after rounding the Moon and re-entering the atmosphere at roughly 22:00 UT (6:00 p.m. EDT) on October 31 (6:00 a.m. local Chinese time, Nov. 1). The main bus maneuvered to the L2 point and will transfer into lunar orbit in January.

This Day in Planetary and Lunar Exploration History

December 22

1666
Inaugural meeting of the French Academy of Sciences.
1891
Max Wolf makes first photographic discovery of an asteroid, 323 Brucia.

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