The asteroid probe "Hayabusa" launched by JAXA in 2003 was the project to demonstrate various exploration technologies, toward the beginning of the age of round-trip exploration in the solar system. The destination was "Itokawa", an asteroid of only 500m diameter. Combining the Earth swingby and ion engines in a unique way for cruising, the probe reached this unexplored body and showed us a marvelous world beyond our imagination. "Hayabusa" provided us the first close look of a Near Earth Object (NEO).

JAXA started a new mission named Hayabusa2, following the Hayabusa mission. By improving the Hayabusa probe, we are planning to visit a small asteroid whose orbit is similar to that of Itokawa, and aiming sample-return from an asteroid of different type from Itokawa. The target body of Hayabusa2 is a C-type asteroid, considered to contain more organic or hydrated materials than S-type asteroids like Itokawa. What types of organic materials exist in the solar system, and is there any relation to life on Earth? - We will challenge these questions.