Good morning, here’s your Friday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Hayabusa2 spacecraft reaches Ryugu asteroid

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft, launched by Japanese space agency JAXA in 2014, is set to touch down on its target, asteroid 162173 Ryugu, this evening, where it will collect samples before its scheduled return to earth in 2020.

The samples will be collected by firing a sampler horn, a metal projectile, into the asteroid’s surface. The resulting debris is collected and safely stored by the instrument. Scientists are hoping that the samples will provide a better understanding of carbon-rich asteroids like Ryugu and the part they played in the creation of life on earth.

“After the Rosetta mission, it’s now clear that most of Earth’s water did not come from comets in the early days of the Solar System. We believe carbon-rich (C-type) asteroids may have significant amounts of water locked up in their rocks. It’s possible such asteroids may have brought to Earth both the water and the organic material necessary for life to start,” said Alan Fitzsimmons, a professor at Queen’s University Belfast.

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft is expected to land on Ryugu at 11pm London time.

FAO releases food biodiversity report

The Food and Agriculture Organization will today release its report on “The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture”, which delves into the condition of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that drive food production.

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Prepared on behalf of the FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the report looks in detail at the genetics, species and ecosystems vital to keeping out food chain stable.

United Nations has previously warned that a “profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish the 815 million people who are hungry today”. However, overproduction is having a profound impact on the environment and resulting in declining numbers of certain species. Overfishing, for example, has led to a sharp decline in cod numbers in recent decades.

Insects are often suggested as an alternative source of protein, but convincing consumers to snack on critters proves challenging.

Politico hosts State Solutions Conference

Political publisher Politico will today host the ninth annual State Solutions Conference, which aims to fuel conversation between political leaders across the United States on how best to deal with complex problems using innovative approaches.

The event, presented by tech giant Microsoft, will include two sessions that will bring governors from Kentucky, Oregon, Colorado, Puerto Rico, Utah, South Dakota, Arkansas and New Hampshire together for talks.

Following the government shutdown, in which President of the United States forced a government shutdown in a bid to get funding to build a wall between the US and Mexico, and a year that brought devastating hurricanes to the east and forest fires to the west, should be plenty to discuss around how technology and innovation can help to solve America’s problems.

The event is being held at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center in Washington DC, starting at 1:30pm London time.

Thursday’s Highlights


Is squid protein the answer to the plastic waste problem?

What to expect from MWC Barcelona

Huawei fights spying controversy with renewed commitment to UK 5G