Monday, June 14, 2010

Seven Years On The Ultimate Sea

It came back yesterday, landing in Australia: Japan's asteroid lander Hayabusa. It may sound like the title of a drive-in midnight movie (the linked video in the previous line is pretty amazing!) but it's the real deal; most of the vehicle shreddded and roasted on the return through Earth's atmosphere, as it was designed to, but -- Holy Andromeda Strain! -- the payload was protected, popped out ahead of the main ball'o'flame right on the mark, and slammed down to Australia's Woomera Range, plaintive beacon beeping out "here I am!"

Seven years to go there and back, "there" being Itokawa asteroid, where it touched down in 2005 (remember? Me neither; well, dimly).

It's humanity's first tiny bit of asteroid mining! Here's hopin' we'll do plenty more, and soon.

2 comments:

reflectoscope said...

Good to see that NASA is still on the ball. Oh, wait.

Jim

aczarnowski said...

They sent a motorcycle to an asteroid? And back? Kidding, kidding.

Well done!