Photos from Japan's beleaguered asteroid mission Hayabusa to visit the asteroid Itokawa and collect samples to be returned to Earth. Japanese asteroid probe, Hayabusa, performed a spectacular set of duties at asteroid Itokawa.
Named 25143 Itokawa, this asteroid is some 540 meters by 270 meters by 210 meters. Japan's robotic Hayabusa spacecraft rendezvoused with asteroid Itokawa in mid-September 2005 and studied the space rock's shape, spin, topography, color, composition, densi
Return to Sender
Earth return of Japan's Hayabusa asteroid probe and release of its sample capsule.
I'm Gonna Getcha
Japan's ion engine-propelled Hayabusa probe has reached its scientific prey: asteroid Itokawa. The spacecraft is loaded with technology, including sample return tools to snag and bag specimens of the object for transport back to Earth.
Artist's concept of Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft touching down on the asteroid to start sampling operations.
An artist's concept of Japan's Hayabusa landing on the asteroid Itokawa.
Asteroid Itokawa's image captured November 20 by Japan's Hayabusa probe. Note shadow of spacecraft as it maneuvered to a close encounter with the space rock.
Circles and Arrows
A close-up on one of the various spots the Hayabusa probe is surveying on the asteroid Itokawa for a prospective landing site.
Japan's Hayabusa space probe has drawn closer to its celestial target: asteroid Itokawa. The spacecraft is being prepared for touchdown this month on the space rock, picking up specimens for return to Earth, and deploying a small lander that can hop from
On the Surface
Getting down and dirty is the plan for Japan's Hayabusa asteroid probe. Imagery taken by the spacecraft shows the terrain of asteroid Itokawa in preparation for sampling of the space rock.
This Must Be the Place
A target marker dropped by Hayabusa (a bright spot) can be seen on the surface of asteroid Itokawa. Spacecraft shadow is cast upon the space rock.
Get the Space.com Newsletter
Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!
Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.