Feeds

Japan's asteroid probe did land, after all

Might have another go, too

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Japan's Hayabusa space probe did land on its asteroid target, mission scientists confirmed today, but was not able to activate its sample collection equipment while it was on Itokawa's surface.

The spacecraft, which is on a mission to collect a sample of the asteroid Ikotawa and return it to Earth, lost contact with mission controllers for three hours on Sunday, just as it was approaching its landing site. Initially the Japanese space agency (Jaxa) announced that the landing attempt had failed, the BBC reports, but closer examination of the data revealed that it had in fact been on the surface for about 30 minutes.

Although the collection equipment failed, the team says it is possible that the craft might have disturbed enough dust just by landing for some to have been scooped up. The craft is designed to fire pellets into the asteroid and lift off from the surface to collect the dust thrown up.

"The object has not been co-operative at all. It is an incredibly nasty place to land," Dr Andy Cheng of Johns Hopkins University told the BBC.

"The surface is strewn with very angular, large rocks - much more so than was expected. They've picked the most benign looking spot, but it has not turned out to be very benign."

Jaxa is expected to announce today whether or not it will make a second attempt at landing and collecting a sample.

Weighed against it are several critical factors: the craft needs to begin its journey back to Earth this week, to make the most of the dynamics of the solar system. But it isn't clear how much fuel is left and its control systems are in pretty poor shape. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter breaks NINETEEN THOUSAND of your EARTH POUNDS
That's right, OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.