Mission accomplished: After a seven-year trip into outer space, the Japanese space probe Hayabusa has returned to Earth, dropping in a tiny heatproof capsule into a remote southern Australian desert. The rest of the craft will disintegrate upon re-entry. The capsule is believed to contain samples gathered in landings on the asteroid Itokawa, which the probe reached in late 2005. The dust taken from the asteroid may be some of the oldest in the universe, and would be only the fourth space-sample return in history. The data may yield important clues pertaining to the origins of the solar system. Launched in 2003, the space probe returns after traveling more than 4 billion miles in space. Analysis of the asteroid dust will be performed by a team of Japanese, American, and Australian scientists.
TOP 10 RIGHT NOW
SHOP WITH SCOUTED