Monday, June 14, 2010

Hayabusa Spacecraft Returns With Fiery Show

A Japanese spacecraft containing what could be the first rock samples taken directly from an asteroid returned to Earth in a showy fireworks display over the weekend.

Arriving right on schedule, the Hayabusa spacecraft streaked across the skies above a vast desert in central Australia on June 13 at 11:51 p.m. local time. The probe jettisoned a small sample return capsule before breaking up and disintegrating in a shower of sparks in Earth's upper atmosphere.

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