Asteroid Surface Images

The surface of Itokawa Itokawa (full name 25143 Itokawa) is an Earth crossing type asteroid that was visited by JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) in 2005. It was, and still may be, the first asteroid to be sampled and returned to Earth. To make a long story short, JAXA attempted quite a complicated mission for such a young agency and sent a probe to Itokawa. The plan was for Hayabusa to orbit, land upon, sample a bit of the surface and then return those samples back to Earth for retrieval. Currently, the mission is seriously damaged and operating on 1 of 3 reaction wheels. Additionally, Hayabusa suffered a major solar flare that damaged several battery cells, a rehearsal landing failed, the agency is unsure if any samples actually made it into the return cannister and 2 probes designed to study the surface also failed. Despite all this trouble and serious concern about its ability to even make it back to Earth… in early 2007 Hayabusa began its long questionable trip back home. Should it make it, the sample return cannister should re-enter Earth atmosphere in 2010.

Never surrender!