Asteroid, Regolith, Sample-Return
Hayabusa (“peregrine falcon” in Japanese) is a scientific space mission developed by JAXA to explore a near-Earth asteroid and to return asteroidal soil, while validating new engineering technologies (propulsion, landing, and atmospheric re-entry). Launched in May 2003, Hayabusa-1 rendezvous with asteroid Itokawa was in September 2005. After 2 months of close observations, it descended and attempted to collect surface grains. It departed in 2007 and cruised back to Earth. The sample canister returned safely in July 2010. JAXA has confirmed the presence of tiny dust particles sampled on Itokawa. Hayabusa-2 is now planned, targeting the C-type asteroid 1993JU3 (launch in 2014).
The Hayabusa-1 spacecraft consisted of a core (1 × 1.6 × 2 m) and two solar paddles (5.7 m width), with a total mass of ∼530 kg, including its propellant (for chemical propulsion) and Xenon (for electrical propulsion). It carried four...