First Spacecraft to Land On An Asteriod– By: Liza K.

A space probe, Hayabusa, Japanese for Falcon, was launched in May 2003 by the Japan Aerospace Agency aka JAXA. Hayabusa weighs about half a ton, which is equivalent to a car. This probe was launched to intercept an asteroid and collect samples from the surface of it.  The Japanese are awaiting what they think will give them clues as to how the solar system was formed.

In September 2005, Hayabusa successfully landed on the 590 yard asteroid. However, Hayabusa blundered to collect the samples. unfortunately, the rocket didn’t go off which caused there not to be any dust so they could not collect any. The probe lingered in that one spot for months before it returned back to JAXA. There has been some issues with the way that the appliances were working on the probe in order for the probe to collect the fragments. But it is possible that the probe collected some samples such as asteroid dust and gas. Scientists said that Hayabusa’s sample container can hold up to ten milligrams of material. However scientists will be very happy if they get at least one cubic millimeter back. Although one cubic millimeter is only about the size of a match head, it is enough so that scientists can predict whats up with that amount of material. But there isn’t any proof yet that there is actually going to be any cargo or material that is collected.

The probe is measured to land in a military practice zone in South Australia on Sunday, June 13th around midnight. This area is not densely populated so if anything goes wrong not many people will get hurt. However, scientists wont be able to study the information until the next morning because of safety conditions. During the next 24 hours of the landing, the capsule will be flown to a JAXA facility. If everything goes as planned, the sample capsule will disconnect from the main body of the probe about 25,000 miles from Earth. This will be a huge discovery for the scientists and possibly our world.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you think the probe has changed since it was launched? Why?
  2. Do you think this will be a big milestone in space and science history?
  3. How long do you think it will take scientists to discover how our solar system formed? Why?

~ by Student Entry on June 13, 2010.

One Response to “First Spacecraft to Land On An Asteriod– By: Liza K.”

  1. I liked your article it was very well done and it had ton of information. I hope that scientist information for what they need to explore their topic.

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