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Returning Japanese Probe Could Be Prelude to Manned Missions To Asteroids

June 12, 2010

Hayabusa (peregrine falcon in Japanese) is an unmanned space mission led by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The craft was launched in May 2003 and landed on asteroid 25143 Itokawa, where it may have collected samples of dust and pebbles.

The 950-pound spacecraft is scheduled to land back on Earth June 13 at the Woomera Test Range in the desert of South Australia, hopefully with pieces of asteroid, for the first time in space exploration history. If the craft is packing some pieces of the asteroid, the mission could help NASA figure out what to expect when it sends humans to an asteroid, a goal of President Barack Obama’s plans for NASA.

Japanese Translation:

ハヤブサ(日本の移住性ファルコン)は日本宇宙航空研究開発機構によって開発された無人の宇宙飛行管である。宇宙船は2003年5月に発射し、小惑星25143 Iイトカワに着陸し、誇りや小石などを採取した様子である。


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