The Hayabusa explorer space craft just came limping home after a long hard journey!
…Hayabusa reached an asteroid called Itokawa in 2005. After taking photo images from all angles of the 1,640-foot (500-meter) -long asteroid, Hayabusa landed on it twice in late 2005.
The craft was designed to shoot a bullet into the surface of the asteroid that would crush and propel material through a long tube into a sample collection container. There is no certainty the bullet actually fired, scientists say, but they believe the impact of the tube’s landing would have forced some material upward and into the collection chamber.
“We have perhaps a 50 percent chance” of retrieving samples, Sakamoto said…