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.


Anonymous said...

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


aczarnowski said...

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

Well done!