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Hayabusa probe succeeded in returning asteroid dust to Earth

Hayabusa sample mission

A spacecraft that traveled to a near-Earth asteroid and attempted the unprecedented feat of sampling its surface directly for examination back on Earth looks to have succeeded in its task. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced November 16 that one of the particle collectors from its Hayabusa probe is indeed loaded with particulate matter [...]

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Hayabusa spacecraft headed back toward Earth, perhaps with asteroid dust in hand


A Japanese spacecraft that visited an asteroid and perhaps even sampled its surface is returning home. The Hayabusa probe, launched by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in 2003, will release a heat-shielded return capsule on June 13 that may contain the first ever samples captured directly from an asteroid. JAXA reported June 9 that [...]

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Japanese space agency set to make history with launch of the solar-sailing IKAROS probe

IKAROS solar sail

The Japanese space agency is preparing to launch what could become the first spacecraft to sail across the solar system on sunlight. IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun), piggybacking on the launch of a Venus climate orbiter, is scheduled for a May 20 liftoff at 5:58 P.M., Eastern Daylight Time, according to [...]

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