According to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the probe began its descent to the asteroid from an altitude of 20,000 meters above at about 0400 GMT, with the descent being delayed for a few hours while the final approach to the asteroid's surface was rechecked.
Japan's space probe Hayabusa2 began its descent Thursday to an asteroid named Ryugu, which the probe arrived above in June past year, the space agency here said.
A live webcast of the control room showed dozens of JAXA staff members nervously monitoring data ahead of the touchdown before exploding into applause after receiving a signal from the probe, Hayabusa2, that it had landed.
A Japanese space craft is set to "bite an asteroid" tonight to collect a sample of rock from it.
The asteroid is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born.
During the touchdown, Hayabusa2 is programmed to extend a pipe and shoot a pinball-like object into the asteroid to blow up material from beneath the surface. Friday's attempt is the first of three such touchdowns planned. It only took the spacecraft a second to fire that bullet and take off again, though, so we're now just waiting to hear if it has successfully collected samples.
The brief landing will be challenging, because of the uneven and boulder-covered surface.
The mission has not been completely plain sailing and the probe's landing was originally scheduled for previous year.
After it collects some rock Hayabusa-2 is expected to return to Earth in 2020.