Space Capsule Hayabusa May Land in Australia Today

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Tokyo - The remnants of the space capsule Hayabusa - perhaps carrying the first-ever dust sample collected from the face of an asteroid - is expected to land by parachute in a remote part of Australia today.

The mission was launched from the Kagoshima Space Center by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on May 9, 2003, and landed on the asteroid 25143 Itokawa on November 19, 2005, for about thirty minutes.

It transmitted crucial imagery and scientific data about the asteroid and then tried to collect some dust off the surface.

It is the first space mission of this kind for any nation.

The Hayabusa was originally slated to return to Earth in 2007, but has been delayed by a series of technical problems.

Today's landing is supposed to occur in the Woomera Prohibited Area, a weapons-testing zone in central South Australia.

The approximate cost of the mission was US $ 200 million.

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