...Small body exploration: Hayabusa mission
On May 9, 2003, Hayabusa (meaning, Peregrine FALCON
), was launched from an M-V rocket
. The goal of this mission is to collect samples from a small near-Earth asteroid named 25143 Itokawa. The craft was scheduled to rendezvous in November 2005, and return to Earth with samples from the asteroid by July 2007. It was confirmed that the spacecraft successfully landed on the asteroid on November 20, 2005, after some initial confusion regarding the incoming data. On November 26, 2005, Hayabusa succeeded in making a soft contact, but whether it gathered the samples or not is unknown. Hayabusa returned to Earth on June 13, 2010...