The Planetary Society Blog
By Emily Lakdawalla
Hayabusa sample capsule photographed on the ground in AustraliaJun. 13, 2010 | 19:23 PDT | Jun. 14 02:23 UTCOh my wonderful little flying saucer, you have been to an asteroid and back -- and you were burning like a star last night! And there you are, sitting quietly in the desert, just waiting to be retrieved...
Clearly I've been affected by reading so many automated translations of Japanese text over the last 24 hours. But this is such a welcome sight. To be perfectly honest, while I knew Hayabusa was going to crash to Earth, I don't think I ever believed the parachute and beacon would work, after the 3-year delay; I figured the battery wouldn't work and at best we'd have Genesis on our hands again, with the capsule crashed into the desert and broken open. I really never believed it would work so well. I'm sorry, Hayabusa mission and JAXA, for my lack of faith! You really have accomplished something amazing.
On June 14, 2010, following its dramatic, fiery reentry the night before, the Hayabusa sample return capsule sat on the ground in the Woomera Prohibited Area, Australia, waiting to be retrieved. Credit: JAXA