Japan's Decade-Long Mission to Mine an Asteroid

1999 JU3: It doesn't sound like a very noteworthy name. It's just one of more than 5,000 Apollo-class asteroids. But 1999 JU3 could become a household name if Japan succeeds in mining it—a mission that JAXA has struggled with for decades, often disastrously. And on Sunday, it revealed the probe that could redeem it. » 9/02/14 5:45pm 9/02/14 5:45pm

Japan Just Successfully Tested Its Asteroid-Shattering Space Cannon

You have to crawl before you can walk—be you a baby or an asteroid-blasting space cannon. Now, after a successful test-fire here on Earth, Japan's specially made cannon for its Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is ready to take its first, real steps in outer space. » 10/24/13 10:26am 10/24/13 10:26am

Hayabusa Probe Has Successfully Brought Back First Asteroid Dust to…

Astronomers and space geeks the world over have been waiting to hear confirmation from JAXA (the Japanese space agency) that the troubled Hayabusa mission did indeed bring back samples of asteroid dust. Today they got it. » 11/16/10 7:00pm 11/16/10 7:00pm

Japan Sending Mirrorball to Mercury

Fresh from the (possible) success of its Hayabusa comet dust hoover, Japan is planning a new space mission—sending a rotating mirrored probe to the currently fashionable planet Mercury. » 7/21/10 6:40am 7/21/10 6:40am

Hayabusa Space Probe May Contain Asteroid Dust, or Just Normal Dust

See that? It might be a dust particle from an asteroid! Or it might be a flake of dried skin from a man in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency factory that built the Hayabusa probe. No one knows yet. » 7/07/10 3:47am 7/07/10 3:47am

High-School Students Plan Hypothetical NASA Mission, Discover It's Real

Two weeks ago, NASA released an insanely beautiful video of the Japanese Hayabusa spacecraft exploding over the Australian Outback. Turns out the video was planned and shot by a couple high schoolers from a NASA DC-8 aircraft. Feeling inadequate yet? » 6/28/10 1:39pm 6/28/10 1:39pm

Hayabusa Probe Disintegrates Over Australia

NASA captured the re-entry of Japan's troubled but still successful Hayabusa probe early this morning over Australia. The payload reportedly ejected without incident and parachuted to earth. What you see here is everything else going to hell (by design): » 6/13/10 1:30pm 6/13/10 1:30pm