Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Japanese Spacecraft DID Land on Asteroid

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The probe's shadow is clearly seen on the asteroid last Sunday

Last Sunday, Japanese space officials lost track of their Hyabusa Space Probe for three hours during what they later said was a failed attempt to land the probe on an asteroid. Today, however, they have determined that the craft DID, in fact, land on the asteroid and remained on the surface for at least a half-hour before taking off again.....but without any rock or soil samples.

The fact that the landing was a success is a great acheivement, technologically. Scientifically, however, it was a great disappointment.

As a result, the craft is being maneuvered back to the asteroid for an attempt at a second landing.......this time with the hope that it will pick up some rocks or gravel or something for scientists to analyze when, and if, it safely returns to earth.