Photo/IllutrationAn image of the asteroid Ryugu taken by the Hayabusa 2 probe (Provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and University of Tokyo)

  • Photo/Illustraion

Japan’s asteroid probe Hayabusa 2 has succeeded in snapping a picture of Ryugu, a minor planet 300 million kilometers from the Earth, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced March 1.

“We have entered the final preparation phase for the probe's arrival at the asteroid,” said Yuichi Tsuda, JAXA project manager. “We will keep our course and move forward with the maximum thrust force.”

Hayabusa 2 took its first photo of Ryugu on Feb. 26 from a distance of 1.3 million kilometers.

The asteroid was believed to be almost spherical with a diameter of about 900 meters, but its shape will become clearer as Hayabusa 2 approaches even closer to it.

Hayabusa 2, launched in December 2014, will arrive at Ryugu in June or July if everything goes according to plan.