Japan's asteroid explorer Hayabusa2 was supposed to blast off on Sunday, Nov. 30, for a six year mission to survey and collect samples from an asteroid. However, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) decided to move the launch because of thick clouds forecasted on the day of the launch.

JAXA set the liftoff schedule on Monday, Dec. 1, but it had to move the launch date for the second time again because of concerns over strong winds.

Hayabusa2, is now scheduled for takeoff on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 1:22 p.m. JST, the space agency and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), which operates the H-IIA rocket that will launch the refrigerator-sized space probe into space.

"We decided to postpone as a result of the go/no go decision meeting today which carefully checked the weather forecast and found that strong wind exceeding the weather restrictions was projected around the launch pad at the scheduled launch time on the previous schedule launch day of Dec. 1 (Mon.), 2014," JAXA's latest update on the launch reads.

The space agency added that the launch could also be delayed further depending on weather conditions. With favorable weather, Hayabusa2 will be launched on board the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 26 (H-IIA F26) from the space development facility Tanegashima Space Center.

The Hayabusa2 mission aims to send a space probe to 1999 JU3 asteroid, where it will spend one year conducting surveys and collecting materials it will bring home for analysis on Earth. Hayabusa2, which is anticipated to arrive at its target asteroid in 2018, will use an explosive device to create a crater and gather materials from the asteroid that have not been exposed to external elements. 

Scientists hope that the materials from JU3, a C-type asteroid believed to contain amino acids, carbon and water-rich materials that are similar to those present in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, would provide valuable information on the early stages of the solar system's formation, how our planet evolved and where the Earth's oceans may have formed.

"If you have meteorites that just fall to Earth, there's always the question of whether or not those type of organic molecules, some of the volatile materials and the water is due to contamination," said Paul Abell, a planetary scientist from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Johnson Space Center. "How can you really, absolutely be sure it didn't come from Earth? We need something pristine and completely uncontaminated."

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