The Japanese probe Hayabusa’s first peaceful journey to an asteroid was so successful in returning samples of the asteroid Itokowa to Earth that JAXA, the Japanese space agency, is planning a second Hayabusa mission. But Hayabusa 2 won’t come in peace. The second asteroid probe will pack an impactor that detonates an explosive on the asteroid’s surface.
The failure of a Venus probe to reach orbit last week will likely prompt the Japanese space program to take a more cautious tack, according to scientists attending the American Geophysical Union fall meeting this week. The Akatsuki probe — meaning “dawn” in Japanese — is shedding light on the perils of space ambition on a shoestring budget, according to Space.com.
Ever since Japan’s asteroid exploring spacecraft Hyabusa crash-landed in the Australian outback this summer after a seven year round trip through space, astronomers and space geeks the world over have been waiting to hear confirmation from JAXA (the Japanese space agency) that the troubled mission did indeed bring back samples of asteroid dust. Today they got it. For the first time, scientists have collected dust from an extraterrestrial asteroid and returned it to Earth for study.
Promising but ambiguous news out of Japan this morning: researchers inspecting the asteroid dust from JAXA’s the Hyabusa mission – the seven-year round trip that landed a probe on a passing asteroid before returning to Earth – have found particles that could contain signs of extraterrestrial life.
JAXA, the Japanese space agency, has released the first photographs of the interior of the Hayabusa probe. Last week, we were starting to fear that the seven-year mission had returned to Earth without the crumbs of asteroid Itokawa that it had been sent for. But that photo looks promising.
The Hayabusa spacecraft landed in the Australian outback on June 13, after a seven-year space journey. It is the hope of JAXA, Japan's space agency, that the capsule Hayabusa is carrying contains a sample taken from asteroid Itokawa. If so, this will be the first sample of asteroid material ever returned to Earth by a space mission.
Now, the process of opening the capsule to see what's inside has begun.
A plucky Japanese probe burned up in a spectacular fireworks display Sunday, celebrating the end of a mission that found success despite being plagued with problems.
The Hayabusa probe overcame several obstacles to fly 3 billion miles to and from a tiny asteroid, land on its surface and (hopefully) collect samples. The spacecraft broke up in the upper atmosphere upon returning home, but not before it released a 15-inch capsule that might contain samples from the asteroid Itokawa. If it does, the sample will be the first material ever returned to Earth from a celestial body other than the moon.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.