Jun 14, 2010
Japanese Asteroid Probe Lands on Australia
Written under: Science
Japan’s space agency, JAXA, has reported that their asteroid probe has successfully been able to return to Earth and safely landed in the remote Australian outback.
The Japanese space probe, Hayabusa, contains material gathered from the surface of an asteroid. It left the Earth in 2003 and went to the Itokawa asteroid for two years.
As expected, the spacecraft burned up on re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, creating a bright fireball in the night sky, but a heatproof sample canister was released and fell to the ground with the aid of a parachute.
The canister was retrieved in the Woomera Protected Area, a restricted military zone in the South Australian desert, using a helicopter.
This is the first time a spacecraft has made contact with an asteroid and returned to Earth. And scientists are hoping to study them to get more clues as to the origins of the universe.