18 March, 2012

Hayabusa-unmanned spacecraft

Replica of Hayabusa
Hayabusa was an unmanned spacecraft developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to return a sample of material from a small near-Earth asteroid, named 
25143 Itokawa to Earth。

Hayabusa, formerly known as MUSES-C for Mu Space Engineering Spacecraft C, was launched on 9 May 2003 and rendezvoused with Itokawa in mid-September 2005. 

After arriving at Itokawa, Hayabusa studied the asteroid's shape, spin, topography, 
color, composition, density, and history. In November 2005, it landed on the asteroid 
and collected samples in the form of tiny grains of asteroidal material, which were 
returned to Earth aboard the spacecraft on 13 June 2010.

The spacecraft also carried a detachable minilander, MINERVA, but this failed to reach
 the surface.------------http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayabusa