Hayabusa: A Japanese Spacecraft~By: Kelly M.

On Sunday June 13, 2010, the  seven-year trip  of the Japanese spacecraft, Hayabusa, ended. The spacecraft was sent into space in 2003, and the capsule was just found in  the Australian outback, on the morning of Monday June 14, 2010 . The space craft was sent up to space on a mission to study the asteroid Itokawa. Scientists are hoping that pieces of dust from the asteroid are located inside the capsule so that they can get a better look at Itokawa. If the capsule does contain some of the 1,640 foot-long, potato shaped asteroid’s dust, then scientists will be able to see clues about the origins of rocky planets such as Earth and Mars. They will also be able to see the composition of solar winds. The dust sample can also pave the way for missions in the future.

The spacecraft landed on Itokawa twice in November,2005, but scientists were unsure about whether the metal bullet designed to catch samples fired. The spacecraft was supposed to land back on Earth in 2007, but there were many setbacks, including broken wheels, and a lot of other minor difficulties which caused it to miss the window back to Earth in the orbit until this year.

The spacecraft is going to be sent by plane back to Japan tomorrow, June 15th. When it arrives in Japan, scientists will thoroughly clean it and do testing before identifying any particles.  If it succeeded, it will be the fourth sample to EVER return.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/06/hayabusa-returns/

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1.) Do you think that the spacecraft has any information at all in it considering how long it was in space?

2.) Why do you think the spacecraft never came down to Earth until now?

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~ by Student Entry on June 15, 2010.

One Response to “Hayabusa: A Japanese Spacecraft~By: Kelly M.”

  1. Great Article Kelly! It was awesome. I had no idea there was an aircraft that landed on Earth yesterday! That’s so cool! =)

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