Photos From Hayabusa: Japan's Asteroid Mission

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.

Waiting on a Friend


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

Hayabusa Asteroid Particles


This scanning electron microscope image shows mineral particles from asteroid Itokawa (red) collected from a sample container from Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft, which visited the asteroid in 2005 and returned to Earth in June 2010.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of 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's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, 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 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.