Monday, June 14, 2010

Japanese Spacecraft Takes Fiery Plunge to Earth

Hayabusa, the Japanese spacecraft, completed its 1.25-billion-mile trip to the comet Itokawa yesterday, June 13, 2010. NASA astronomers, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and others observed the Hayabusa spacecraft's return to Earth's atmosphere in an airborne lab over Australia's Outback. Scientists hope the craft retrieved asteroid samples that could help them insight into the evolution of the solar system, says one article by The Associated Press.

The team used 19 cameras to study how well the heat shield material protected a sample canister. The video captures the breakup of the spacecraft, with the sample canister flying ahead of the main body (beginning at 0:20.)

User name: nasaames
Location: Central Australia
Date uploaded: June 13
Views: 84,402
User notes: A group of astronomers from NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and other organizations had a front row seat to observe the Hayabusa spacecraft's fiery plunge into Earth's atmosphere. The team flew aboard NASA's DC-8 airborne laboratory, packed with cameras and other imaging instruments, to capture the high-speed re-entry over an unpopulated area of central Australia on June 13, 2010. The Japanese spacecraft completed its seven-year, 1.25 billion mile journey to return a sample of the asteroid Itokawa.


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