Photo Gallery: Hayabusa Asteroid Probe Returns to Earth

Hayabusa burns up as it crosses the sky
(Image credit: JAXA)

Shine a Light

NASA/Ed Schilling

Hayabusa spacecraft streaked across the sky through the clouds as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere over the Woomera Test Range in Australia. In Kingoonya, the re-entry was visible to the human eye for only 15 seconds.

So Lonely


Hayabusa's sample return capsule lies in the Australian wilderness.

Hello, How Are You?


A team of researchers examines Hayabusa's sample return capsule.

I Need Protection


A researcher processes the sample return capsule of Hayabusa.

Waiting on a Friend


Hayabusa's sample return capsule and parachute lie on the ground in Australia's Woomera Prohibited Area.

Take It Away

Australian Science Media Center

The sample return capsule (inside a box) from Japan's Hayabusa asteroid probe is transported by helicopter to the Instrumentation Building inside the Woomera Test Range after its June 13, 2010 landing. At that site, a temporary clean room had been set up

I Fall to Pieces


This still from a NASA video shows the Hayabusa spacecraft as it burned up over Australia during re-entry on June 13, 2010 to cap a 7-year mission to the asteroid Itokawa. Hayabusa ejected a sample return capsule (bright dot at lower right) before burning up. It landed in the Australian outback and has been recovered.

According to Plan

Australian Department of Defence

Yoshiyuki Hasegawa, Associate Executive Director, International Space Station Program, JAXA, briefs media at the Press Conference Centre at Woomera prior to the Hayabusa re-entry.

I'm Down (I'm Really Down)


Hayabusa spacecraft's return capsule and parachute lie on the ground in the Australian outback.

All Smiles


JAXA personnel at work. Click to enlarge



Hayabusa spacecraft re-enters the atmosphere in a dazzling streak.

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