Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

No Samples On Japan's Hayabusa Asteroid Probe

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the one-long-fezzle dept.

NASA 147

eldavojohn writes "Reports are coming in that JAXA's Hayabusa probe may have come up empty-handed in its bid to collect asteroid matter. There may be gas in the probe but no dust samples as many hoped. Murphy's Law seemed to ride with Hayabusa. 'After landing in 2005 on the Itokawa asteroid, which is about one-third mile long and shaped like a potato, the probe's sample-capture mechanism went awry. To the public's dismay, JAXA officials said they were not sure whether any samples had been collected. Next, the probe's robotic rover, meant to take photos and temperature readings on the asteroid, inexplicably floated off into space and was never heard from again. Worse yet, after Hayabusa took off from the asteroid, all four of NEC's ion engines shut down. So did all 12 of the chemical-fueled rocket engines made by another space industry giant, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The probe was left drifting in space. Then, for more than seven weeks, for reasons still not clear, there were no communication signals from the probe. Public dismay quickly turned to derision and, eventually, indifference.' The probe did return, however, and JAXA hoped to salvage something, but now it appears that the only thing it accomplished was one long and error-prone journey."

cancel ×

147 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

sad news (5, Interesting)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771900)

If this is true it is very sad news. This probe had a lot of promise, and it's failure is to be regretted. Let's hope that JAXA is not put off trying other missions of this type...they deserve our support.

Probe succeeded in most of its mission (4, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772072)

The collection of samples was a bonus. The actual purpose of the mission was to test the ion-drive, which was fully successful as they ran for more than 1000 hours.

See here [wikipedia.org] for the mission milestones -- note that all the things above 100 points are a bonus.

Re:Probe succeeded in most of its mission (2, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772888)

And was the floating-off of the rover also part of the mission? I can just imagine the Pixar movie of this:
"Rover! Rooooover! Come back!"
"I can't Busa. It's too late. Goodbye, goodbye..... Boy I hope space is kind to me."

Re:Probe succeeded in most of its mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32774706)

Wilson!!!!!

Re:Probe succeeded in most of its mission (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 4 years ago | (#32774586)

Worse yet, after Hayabusa took off from the asteroid, all four of NEC's ion engines shut down.

What were you saying about "fully successful" again?

Re:Probe succeeded in most of its mission (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32774986)

If we're being technically correct - the best kind of correct - GP did say that the test was successful, not strictly that the engines were.

Re:sad news (4, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772262)

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

- T. Roosevelt

Re:sad news (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773808)

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

Far better it is to dare not mighty things, to live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat, than to rank with those poor spirits whose live lives checkered by failure, who suffer much because they live in the futile hope of winning glorious triumphs. - Eric the Bland

the incompetent deserve to be fired, not supported (1, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772356)

Let's hope that JAXA is not put off trying other missions of this type...they deserve our support.

Why? If it was one or two component failures or a bad situation, that would be one thing- but virtually every system malfunctioned or never worked in the first place.

There is little to account for that except gross incompetence, and people who are grossly incompetent deserve to be fired, not "supported"- or at the very least, not given the same job again.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772570)

I'd love to point out the manufacturer's label reads: "Japan" - But the benefit of the doubt comes from one crucial fact: Experience. On the evolutionary scale we are basically babies on the space exploration front.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (3, Insightful)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772598)

Thankfully the Japanese don't see it that way.

In an American company when something goes wrong, somebody is fired.

In a Japanese company when something goes wrong, they try to figure out what went wrong and fix it som that doesn't happen again. Explains why they overtook the US auto industry so quickly. Also explains how they turned a feudal agricultural economy in the 1800s to an industrial one only 30 years later.

Also NASA does the same thing, when a problem occurs, they look for the problem in the process that allowed the defect to get to production.

Space is hard, you don't get it right by firing people every time there is a setback, the culture you espose only gets you more of the same, nothing new, like missions to asteroids.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (0, Troll)

fataugie (89032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772876)

So what you're saying is....in a few short years because of this error-ladden mission, we should be flying to work Jetson's style, thanks to the Japanese?

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32773364)

Exageration... the slashdottee's escape....

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (4, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773684)

Seriously. I have a hard time deciding whether people who post crap like that on the internet actually think in ridiculously untenably black-and-white terms, whether they are using intentional hyperbole, or whether they are trolling.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32775516)

If you look at cars, actually, it's clear that the Japanese have a different mind set than the Americans have a different mind set than the Germans.

German cars were long built from the standpoint that using all the best parts makes the best car. That's why my 1982 MBZ 300SD is made mostly out of Bosch electrical parts, with a Garrett turbocharger and Bendix brakes. These are both U.S. companies, but they made the best parts, so Mercedes-Benz (at the time) sourced the parts and used them. The Japanese build cars from the standpoint that the best system makes the best car. When a part fails on a Mercedes you usually need to stop driving and fix it or it will break something else in fairly short order, and there's a lot of parts. When a part fails on a Japanese car, odds are that it will still limp along. And further, the limp home mode is more useful, too (unlike my MBZ whose transmission fails to first gear only on any major failure, and is good only for loading onto a trailer.) American cars are built to sell. They're often pretty, they're usually very powerful, they generally get shit mileage and disintegrate quickly. When they fail, they tend to fail spectacularly and expensively.

Unfortunately, today the Germans are building cars priced to sell, so they can't apparently afford all the expensive parts. End result is that German cars are now mostly shitpiles, just like USDM cars. They're made with shitty parts AND they're made unintelligently. Those new DaimlerChrysler designed vans/trucks that UPS is using these days? The ones that are Dodge in front and Mercedes in the rear? They have a low oil sensor that can trip on a steep hill, immediately killing the engine. They also have no traction worth mentioning. We were considering a Sprinter CRD 4x4 as an eventual replacement for the Astro, but that's over.

Amusingly, we dig up iron and make it into steel in the USA, then we stamp it out and make it into cars, then it gets recycled at which point it gets harder, and then it's made into Japanese cars which are just as strong for less weight. The steel's harder to work, but apparently the Japanese have that figured out, because I can't remember the last time I saw an American car with decent fit and finish, but even a Sentra is a fairly tight little construction. Sometime if you get a chance take a look at a Ford GT, the finish is appalling, and that's the latest flagship.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

Convector (897502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32775580)

Why can't it be both?

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773850)

So what you're saying is....in a few short years because of this error-ladden mission, we should be flying to work Jetson's style, thanks to the Japanese?

Precisely. Also, those cars will fold up into briefcases, and we'll all have talking dogs.

Next question?

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773890)

Yes. There's a similar story in "The Gold Plated Porsche". Porsche is (was) a small car company. Doors, trunks, hoods etc would occasionally not fit properly during final fitting. They would get driven out to a lot and a team of "experts" would go over them and hammer on them with a rubber mallet until all the parts fit more or less correctly. Porsche advertised this fact and billed Porsches as being hand built. Toyota doesn't have these fixit lots. Toyota took one look at this lot on the Porsche factory campus and engineered the problem out completely. Find the problem with the fit and finish, correct it, move on and find the next problem.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773422)

Better than Russian!

When something goes wrong you get killed! ( Or used to )

- Dan.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32774946)

I agree with you. JAXA now knows where things can be wrong, and cand now fix that on the future missions.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32775550)

In an American company when something goes wrong, somebody is fired.

In a Japanese company when something goes wrong, they try to figure out what went wrong and fix it som that doesn't happen again. Explains why they overtook the US auto industry so quickly. Also explains how they turned a feudal agricultural economy in the 1800s to an industrial one only 30 years later.

From another comment... [slashdot.org]

In the Japanese culture, it's bad to say you can't do something, or to admit failure. Silly as it sounds to us westerners, instead of saying outright "no" they use mushy words to avoid losing face.

Are both those reads really right? It's possible that Japan perhaps has a healthy corptocracy where each organization takes care of its own, and maintains an unapologetic front externally. It does sound more likely to me, however, that Japan really isn't as tolerant of failure as most other developed countries.

Hayabusa was a platform for testing new technology (3, Insightful)

achurch (201270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772654)

Of course things are going to go wrong. They in fact succeeded at their primary objective, which was to run the ion engines for 1,000 hours; everything beyond that is a bonus. If anything, the engineers involved ought to be praised for being able to work around all those problems and get the thing back to Earth.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (2, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772828)

yes because landing a probe on an asteroid taking off again is real easy, fucktard.

maybe you should stick to your greeting job at walmart....

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772846)

Then since you're incompetent at judging the success of a space probe mission, you should not be surprised to hear that you've been fired from commenting on the internet.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773258)

The article summary was quite harshly worded against Hayabusa.

If you read some of the links provided by another commenter, the basic standard for mission success was whether the ion drives worked continuously for 1000 hours, which they did. It was the first time that such a drive had EVER been used in a probe for any mission.

The mini-lander was experimental by nature, and even by name. Shit happens, sometimes experiments are a success, sometime they are a failure. That's the whole point of an experiment - even the failures can often gain you valuable data.

The best way I can summarize the mission is "Great success until exposure to an unknown environment that equipment has never been operated in before." The fact that they were able to recover the probe means that they'll be able to learn a lot about the comet's environment even just by doing failure analysis of the stuff that broke, which may likely have been due to unexpected environmental exposure aspects.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773284)

There is little to account for that except gross incompetence

There is nothing routine about spaceflight, and there are innumerable things that cannot be controlled for that can ruin a flight. People are always amazed at the redundant systems and awesome engineering that goes into spacecraft, but there is only so much redundancy, fault tolerance, and testing that one can do before you end up with a craft that is either too heavy or too expensive to fly.

I for one am willing to give these guys a pass, at least until there is more information. This was an experimental craft with a lot of untested systems. The mission was a test of them, and the sample return was largely a means to that end. Since the cause of each of the failures is not fully known, it is not possible to say whether they were due to some human failing, something breaking because of the challenging environment, or if one small root failure caused a cascade of otherwise functional parts to fail.

They built a spacecraft that lasted for years in space and managed to return a probe to the earth, something that every other space-faring nation has had problems doing. It takes time, and failure, to get good at these things. It's expensive, true, but anyone who has ever built anything has experienced this.

Hold off on being so preachy and judgmental until we have a sense of what went wrong.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773402)

Let's hope that JAXA is not put off trying other missions of this type...they deserve our support.

Why? If it was one or two component failures or a bad situation, that would be one thing- but virtually every system malfunctioned or never worked in the first place.

There is little to account for that except gross incompetence, and people who are grossly incompetent deserve to be fired, not "supported"- or at the very least, not given the same job again.

Further Above:

The collection of samples was a bonus. The actual purpose of the mission was to test the ion-drive, which was fully successful as they ran for more than 1000 hours.

See here [wikipedia.org] for the mission milestones -- note that all the things above 100 points are a bonus.

I would call the probe a raging success.

Getting there was much more of a feat than what was planned to happen once it arrived. The EVA thing has been done before.

- Dan.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773566)

You are absolutely right, assuming good workers never make mistakes, and people can't learn from failure.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773708)

Also assuming there is a large enough pool of people who are experienced at building technology to land on and collect samples from comets to replace the current crop with, otherwise you've no guarantee the replacements won't be as bad but without the benefit of real experience.

Re:the incompetent deserve to be fired, not suppor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32774926)

So they landed a probe on an asteroid, took off, and got it home, whilst testing ion engines, and they gained a massive amount of experience and knowledge.

So yeah, let's fire them for daring to do the unknown.

Re:sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772610)

I don't know. Sounds like quite the success to me. Despite the many problems, they made it back, which means they mastered the problems and learned a lot from them.

BTTF Reference (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772790)

"There's your problem, 'Made in Japan'!"

Re:BTTF Reference (1)

Bishop Rook (1281208) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773148)

"Hey look, Homer's got one of those robot cars."

[CRASH]

"...One of those American robot cars."

Re:BTTF Reference (2, Insightful)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 4 years ago | (#32775574)

I can't help but wonder whether the difference in culture plays a role in the success of these kinds of missions. I don't really understand why, but despite the ridiculously rigorous education in Japan, they have very few Fields Medal winners. No South Korean has ever won a Nobel Prize despite being one of the most technologically innovative nations in the world.

The thing is, I don't care how many 150 hour weeks these scientists put into homework when they were 9 years old, I'd rather have a bunch of MIT hackers building my space probe. Somehow our way works, and theirs doesn't. It's probably something to do with Western students thinking more critically because they're trained to question everything they hear... such a difference could easily affect long-term outcomes.

Re:sad news (1)

almitchell (1237520) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773120)

Especially since we're deliberately tanking our space program. We have to hope the rest of the world doesn't.

Re:sad news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32773452)

This probe had a lot of promise, and it's failure is to be regretted.

This sentence had a lot of promise, and your failure to spell "its" correctly is to be regretted.

lol, Japan (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771902)

penis is small. oh so small.

Win some lose some (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771920)

Whatever. The fact that they successfully landed on a freakin' moving asteroid is an accomplishment in itself.

Re:Win some lose some (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771978)

This.

Samples would just be a bonus.

Yup! (2, Informative)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772192)

Try something that difficult and there is always the risk of failure. I hope they try again!

Re:Yup! (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773776)

The key thing is being able to reliably land the thing and get it back to earth for study - everything else will come with time, once we know a bit more about the stresses and strains of this kind of mission. If I had to guess I'd think they didn't hold out much hope for the other things this time around anyway, but were of the attitude that, hell, since we're going to be up there anyway may as well give it a try.

Re:Win some lose some (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772232)

Landing on an asderoid? It's the safest thing in the world, *whoosh* *whoosh* *whoosh* safe!

Re:Win some lose some (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32774144)

"whatever"

Yeah right, if this was an article about NASA people around here would be tearing them apart and proclaiming the fall of America. Saying how other countries do it better.

These other countries and mainly the EU need to step it up in space funding, the LHC is great and all for science but at the end of the day it is not really going to do anything for humanity or anything of substance to use. Our funding for space and NASA greatly outpaced almost all the countries combined, even the International Space Station is almost all funded by NASA or they export some of the work to other countries to make them feel better.
ION engines and deep space exploration is where it is at, so 10,000 years from now when we look back from another galaxy far away studying history.
They will say: "It was that one country America that found this little habitable planet for us to live on a couple thousand years ago and successfully got us off earth before it was destroyed, that non-existant thing the EU found this particle in the LHC project but we don't have much use for it besides in science/history books"

Metric system.. Duh! (5, Funny)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771940)

As is commonly cited here, everything NASA does screws up because stupid Americans don't use the metric system... if only the Japanese would use it they wouldn't have these prob...

[hushed whispering] Uh.. it has come to my attention that some people believe Japan uses the metric system. This cannot be possible for 2 reasons: 1. With the metric system there can't be any stupid screwups like what the Americans do. 2. Japanese always have the most badass robots and this is just a space robot, and therefore must work. I stand by my original statement.

Re:Metric system.. Duh! (5, Funny)

Danse (1026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772098)

The Japanese always have to over-complicate things. If only they hadn't insisted that the probe be able to transform into a giant, laser-sword-wielding humanoid form as well...

Re:Metric system.. Duh! (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772134)

The flashing lights and loud music were probably overkill as well.

Re:Metric system.. Duh! (4, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772172)

But they go so well with the karaoke function!

Re:Metric system.. Duh! (2, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772536)

My bet is that part of the Probe was actually created by Sony, and a firmware update blocked the Linux Sample Gathering OS from running.

Re:Metric system.. Duh! (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773408)

How dare you even think the blasphemy that is removing the ability to transform into a giant, laser-sword wielding humanoid form!

Re:Metric system.. Duh! (3, Interesting)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772364)

As is commonly cited here, everything NASA does screws up because stupid Americans don't use the metric system... if only the Japanese would use it they wouldn't have these prob...

[hushed whispering] Uh.. it has come to my attention that some people believe Japan uses the metric system. This cannot be possible for 2 reasons: 1. With the metric system there can't be any stupid screwups like what the Americans do. 2. Japanese always have the most badass robots and this is just a space robot, and therefore must work. I stand by my original statement.

Heh... you think you're only joking but actually it's at least partially true:

Like many people from outside the USA I used to get extremely frustrated whenever I went to print anything as most software and hardware is defaulted to use US Letter rather than A4.

Some time later I got a job at a large Japanese company that makes printers and one of the things that really blew me away was that the Japanese have a paper size called A4 which is very slightly different from the A4 paper used by Europe... after that I decided that as much as US Letter pissed me off at least the Americans have the common decency to give their paper a different name.

Even worse, on a tangential note, I also discovered that the dozen-odd different types of connectors used back in the 90s for SCSI connectors literally doubled overnight at said company because the Japanese have the same dozen or so connectors except that they reverse the gender of all the connections.

In the end I guess it all comes down to that old saying: "The great thing about standards is that there is so many to choose from"

Re:Metric system.. Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772788)

You are a complete tard

Re:Metric system.. Duh! (2, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#32774460)

The metric system is a mediocre improvement over the imperial system, but I'd rather some other system altogether.

We need a system which, first of all, has units which are meaningful to humans. British units are like this: a cup is a useful measure, but a liter is a bit too large. Kilograms are okay, but that's a confusing screwup of the concept of base units -- a single gram is too small to be useful. A meter is both too long to measure human-scale things and too short to measure large things.

We also need a system which divides evenly by two and three. British units are like this, too, most of the time: twelve inches in a foot; so what's a third of a foot? four inches, even. But what's a third of a meter? Some repeating decimal. (This is a difficult request because it might require rethinking the most common way that humans count, in base-ten, but hey that can't be harder than rethinking the entire way we measure everything.)

Metric clearly wins hands-down based on easy conversion up and down the scale. Metric also wins for overall consistency. British wins for useful base measures and numerical divisibility (sometimes). It would be swell if metric had been thought out just a little better, but I'd still prefer it to the British system; and yet I'd still rather something better than either one.

The Seppuku line forms to the right (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771942)

I trust the engineers will do the honorable thing.

Nonetheless, well done (5, Insightful)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771946)

The Hayabusa team managed to recover a severely f'ed spacecraft on a shoestring budget despite misfortune on top of misfortune. Congratulations to them.

Re:Nonetheless, well done (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772372)

Yes indeed. The difficult part for me is that there are some many smart arsed remarks I want too make.

Re:Nonetheless, well done (1)

coofercat (719737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772400)

I agree - sure, they turned up empty handed, but you can bet they've learned a hell of a lot about these sorts of missions, and they've (probably) figured out how to do it right the next time. I expect the accumulated knowledge the world has about such things has grown considerably because of these guys.

The fact they got anything back to earth after all those failures demonstrates they know how to do some awesome engineering*. I wish I could convince some software folks to do some of that sort of thinking.

* Yes, having things fail may suggest they don't know how to do engineering, but failures and mistakes happen to everyone - the trick is to make it look like you always meant it to work that way ;-)

Re:Nonetheless, well done (2, Informative)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772568)

the trick is to make it look like you always meant it to work that way

"Look! Our probe.. it's floating away into deep space without control! WHAT DO!"
"CALL THE ENGINEERS!"
"Yes, um, well.. in the requirements was clearly described for the probe to be autonomous. The fact that you do not have control is in fact this feature."
"But it's floating A-WAY!"
"The purpose of this mission was to 'float away from earth', otherwise there would be no use, would there?"
"TOWARDS A ROCK"
"Yes, but did you specify WHICH rock? It'll eventually hit one."

Re:Nonetheless, well done (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773476)

Yes, having things fail may suggest they don't know how to do engineering, but failures and mistakes happen to everyone - the trick is to make it look like you always meant it to work that way ;-)

I did not know that JAXA was a subsidiary of Microsofts OS division.

budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32771962)

JAXA's budget for the project was very very low. The ESA or the NASA would not have been able to match all that was accomplished technologically with such a budget.

Vapor..gas!! (1)

Aeros (668253) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771976)

“Hayabusa capsule yields gas,” declared one newspaper headline. “Vapor gives us hope”

The newspaper headlines say it all! Hopefully they get something from all the problems they encountered.

Re:Vapor..gas!! (5, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772276)

“Vapor gives us hope”

Isn't this the tagline from the upcoming Duke Nukem promo material?

Re:Vapor..gas!! (1)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772406)

and i had mod points up to yesterday!!! clearly all 5 would be well spent on this one post alone..

Not bad, considering (4, Interesting)

asukasoryu (1804858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32771984)

Pretty good for a first try. Based on all other attempts to return physical samples from an extraterrestrial body, I'd say they got pretty close.

Re:Not bad, considering (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772116)

You mean like Luna 16?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna_16

I hope you're not one of these Space Nutter types who thinks the human race will be mining asteroids...

Re:Not bad, considering (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772496)

Awwww, did I hurt some nerd's little feelings? The fact that the OP wrote "Based on all other attempts to return physical samples from an extraterrestrial body" suggests complete ignorance of history.
It is quite simple to return samples from extraterrestrial bodies.
However, it is one thing to run a dictatorship with no concern for economic viability and claiming that we can mine asteroids. For one thing, the human race has been tooling around space for decades now. Not a single one of the grandiose Space Age dreams have become reality. It's simply because we don't have the energy or technology to do any of them. If those dreams had any value whatsoever, someone would have attempted them.

The other thing is that if we suddenly *did* have the energy and technology to do it, you wouldn't need to do it. You'd have everything you need on Earth.

May be that... (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772022)

Aliens cleaned up dust from JAXA satellite using AJAX (If you are a housework-impaired linux geek, I refer to this [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:May be that... (2, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772190)

Check the probe. They probably left a "Mega maid was here" bumper sticker.

Re:May be that... (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772312)

If they were using AJAX that explains everything. IE turns off Javascript in the Interplanetary Security Zone.

Oh. Wrong Ajax? Well, JAXA is the pride and joy [fuzz2buzz.com] of the Japanese space program.

There's gas on asteroids!? (4, Funny)

KarrdeSW (996917) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772032)

Don't let BP touch them... We'll have to send Bruce Willis into space to clean up their mess.

Spoiler alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772812)

He DIED at the end, so that may be not be an option.

What does shaped like a potato mean? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772054)

I know this is only a minor point, but I cook potatoes occasionally and I've never found them to have a uniform shape. Is this the best descriptive term they could come up with?

Re:What does shaped like a potato mean? (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772500)

I know this is only a minor point, but I cook potatoes occasionally and I've never found them to have a uniform shape. Is this the best descriptive term they could come up with?

Given the advanced age of asteroid it should mean that it is covered with green sprouts and dark spots. Maybe they were out of cliches. We should send them some new terms for irregular lumps:

  • Tony Hayward's head-shaped asteroid
  • Left-hand proper iPhone 4 grip-shaped asteroid
  • Lady GaGa nose-shaped asteroid

Man, oh man (4, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772082)

The conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this one. Obviously someone/something on the asteroid didn't want to be seen

Re:Man, oh man (1)

Myji Humoz (1535565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772178)

The probe obviously got rick-rolled during the approach vector.

Missile launch in 3, 2, 1... (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772240)

Shhhh!!!!

Can you imagine what a "takedown notice" would do with an asteroid?

Re:Man, oh man (2, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772566)

It went to Europa by mistake.

Re:Man, oh man (2, Funny)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772650)

what do you mean conspiracy theorists?
In all seriousness, people are trying to learn about the universe, and they are being stopped
there was all the CERN stuff last year... I mean, come on! a bird dropped a piece of bread and stopped it. and a few days ago we all learned that birds are very smart.
now this.

If there is a God, he might die laughing one day.

I've had days like that... (1)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772246)

almost

Wrong, totally wrong. (5, Informative)

Silm (1135973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772294)

The submitter of this article has no idea what he is talking about. It will take months to even be sure that there is something in there.
The only tests that have been done to date on the canister is a CT scan which can only detect samples as big as a grain of sand, way bigger then was expected.
The gas in the capsule might have come from evaporated organics / ice of some form. How was this gas detected? The top of the capsule behaved slightly diffirent ( on a sub-millimetre scale ) in various pressure surroundings ( Nitrogen and CO2 under various pressures )

The container has not been opened yet. All this talk is bullocks. The japanese estimate right now is that it will take some MONTHS to come till they know if they have something. The tiniest of particles is enough for this.
Furthermore, the source, a NYT article, does not reflect at all the actual goal of the mission - for this, I refer to wikipedia.
Succes for Hayabusa is considered 100 points. I'll repeat that: Primary mission objective succes is defined as 100 points. You do the math.

Operation of Ion Engines
50 points Success
Operation of Ion Engines for more than 1000 hours
100 points Success
Earth Gravity Assist with Ion Engines
150 points Success
Rendezvous with Itokawa with Autonomous Navigation
200 points Success
Scientific Observation of Itokawa
250 points Success
Touch-down and Sample Collection
275 points Success
Capsule Recovered
400 points Success
Sample obtained for Analysis
500 points Uncertain

This mission IS A BIG SUCCES. There is no other way to talk about it. In the NYT article it is stated this mission was a failure as soon as there is no dust.
And next to that, as said above, it is absolute BS to talk about succes or not at this point.

Re:Wrong, totally wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772666)

You: "This mission IS A BIG SUCCES"
You: "it is absolute BS to talk about succes or not at this point."

Me: "Great, another Space Nutter".

Re:Wrong, totally wrong. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772670)

All this talk is bullocks

While bullocks is indeed a real word, I think the word you're looking for is bollocks.

Good day, sir!

You can't talk about success but it's a big succes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772776)

This mission IS A BIG SUCCES (sic). There is no other way to talk about it. In the NYT article it is stated this mission was a failure as soon as there is no dust. And next to that, as said above, it is absolute BS to talk about succes (sic) or not at this point.

Well done. Well done indeed. How you ever got to be moderated fucking +5 informative, I'll never know. Submitter never called it a failure. But you, you say we can't gauge it yet and yet you call it a "BIG SUCCES (sic)." Bravo.

Re:You can't talk about success but it's a big suc (1)

Silm (1135973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32774600)

My sincere apologies. I was in a bit of a rage at seeing this article when it was posted, since it is so wrong.
My last sentence was meant to be
And next to that, as said above, it is absolute BS to talk about the capsule containing a sample or not at this point.
The article, however, does mention failure, and you'll have to agree with me that it does not regard the mission as a succes.
I would also argue that the sentence
"but now it appears that the only thing it accomplished was one long and error-prone journey."
Is really, really negative after seeing the official mission objectives. So strong in fact that I would argue that it is being called a failure, while the mission is far from that.

Re:Wrong, totally wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32772786)

They missed out "..." and "Profit!"

Re:Wrong, totally wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32774862)

> Success for Hayabusa is considered 100 points.

So they set the bar low for the project to be considered a success. Why not set it at 1000 points? Or over 9000?

If they had set the threshold at 1 point would you still be calling it a success? Arbitrary thresholds without foundation mean little.

This mission demonstrated some technologies that have already been proven in discrete test-beds but failed spectacularly to integrate them into one successful whole.

ob. (1)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772612)

The samples landed safely just outside of a small town in Arizona...

A.

Well Japan... (1)

MikeV (7307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772662)

...all I can say is, welcome to space exploration. Where if it can go wrong, it typically will and where tomorrow's missions hopefully are made better by today's mistakes - mistakes even the exalted NASA isn't immune to. At least you got the probe back - after landing on a remote asteroid out in the middle of nowhere which is a major success in my book.

What an accomplishment! (3, Insightful)

yesterdaystomorrow (1766850) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772736)

They landed a probe on an asteroid, and returned it to Earth.

They made measurements and took pictures in incredible detail. That Itokawa is apparently a low-density "rubble pile" was a surprise, and surprising science is the best kind!

They did this on a budget that was tiny by NASA's standards.

They learned a lot about the strengths and limitations of their technology. If Japan can recover the political courage to support this kind of ambitious mission, and if JAXA can recover the courage to let its scientists and engineers do the best possible job without management interference, they'll most likely do much better the next time around.

Why is there so much negativity about this incredible mission?

Re:What an accomplishment! (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32774078)

The mainstream media don't sell copies by saying "everything's great" - nor by giving an in-depth analysis of a mission like this (not unless they can dumb down the importance enough, in which case we might get a three bullet point list with a picture of Bruce Willis in an astronaught costume). They sell copies by being doomsayers. At least there are people here who appreciate the significance of this mission.

The Plot Thickens! (1)

WebSorcerer (889656) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772816)

Considering all the things that went wrong, it sounds like the start of a science fiction novel. Alien beings thwarted the mission and tracked the probe back to earth.

LOOK OUT!!! They're on the way!

Hey Jerk (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772832)

The LANDED on an asteroid and returned. That's a first. A very hard first.

Yeah, the trip with riddled with errors, and yet they recovered from them and still got it back.

Kudos to JAXA.

Re:Hey Jerk (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#32774216)

Not only did they land the damn thing on an asteroid, the probe was in good enough shape to take back off again and arrive at earth. It landed without use of airbags or whatever is in vouge on the mars missions these days. The fact that anything functioned at all after taking off at 20,000mph from earth and landing on a distant body is fucking amazing. That the engines worked after that is just icing on the cake. I bet the structural engineers are going to have a field day examining the frame of the probe over the coming weeks.

Big clue - Cultural translation 101 (2, Interesting)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772890)

"To the public's dismay, JAXA officials said they were not sure whether any samples had been collected."

That's Japanese for "it didn't work".

I work in an office where we have periodic dealings with representatives of Japanese industry (actual Japanese people in Japan).I can tell you absolutely that in Japan, if someone says they're "not sure" about whether something happened or is possible, it means "the answer is no".

"It's very difficult" also means "the answer is no"

In the Japanese culture, it's bad to say you can't do something, or to admit failure. Silly as it sounds to us westerners, instead of saying outright "no" they use mushy words to avoid losing face.

There's nothing wrong with that, but you have to understand what they're actually saying when they say things like that.

Re:Big clue - Cultural translation 101 (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773314)

Silly as it sounds to us westerners, instead of saying outright "no" they use mushy words to avoid losing face.

In England we'd probably say something like, "um... it could be worse" or "not too bad, considering"

they use mushy words to avoid losing face

I don't think that's an east/west thing.

British "um, excuse me?" translates to "what the fuck did you say?!"
"That might delay the project, slightly" means "that will double the time it takes to do the project, at best"
"Your mum called, she's had a bit of an accident" means "go to the hospital, your mum's almost dead".
"Would you mind quietening down a little?" means "it's four-in-the-fucking-morning, turn that excuse for music off, I need to leave for work in two hours".

"Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress." -- Captain Eric Moody, who flew a plane through a volcano ash cloud.

Re:Big clue - Cultural translation 101 (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32775386)

In the US, we just blaim it on George Bush. As least for any government related function.

Hayabusa was not a failure (2, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#32772956)

Hayabusa was not a failure, failure of the sample return or no. It returned a lot of information about a near Earth asteroid including (to me) the very fundamental result that the regolith appears to be well mixed. This means that the asteroid is not just a lump of rubble but something is stirring material from inside to the surface and back again. This will prove very significant when we start doing engineering on asteroids (such as mining or setting up bases).

Traveling in deep space is tough. All of the countries that have done it have suffered through a pretty steep learning curve. Japan's space agency should be congratulated for pulling this off; I hope that the (undeserved) bad press doesn't make them shy from trying innovative missions such as Hayabusa in the future.

Pathetic US media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32773412)

JAXA operates Ion Engines for more than 1000 hours.

US media calls mission a failure because of failed bonus objectives.

There are some people in your country with a fucking pathetic competitive spirit. Let me tell you that.

I have only one thing to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32773468)

Quote:

"Look what God did to us, man!!"

*dust flying away*

Engine failure (0, Troll)

acidreverb (1339035) | more than 4 years ago | (#32773990)

NEC Ion Engines: FAIL
Mitsubishi Rocket Engines: FAIL
So the engine control unit must have been Toyota, yes?

diU3k (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32775324)

themselves to bE a development. BSD Mod points and
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>