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Hayabusa Returns Particles From Asteroid

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the homeopathic-samples dept.

Space 100

The collection module of Japan's Hayabusa spacecraft, as recently noted, was on recovery believed to contain no samples from the asteroid Hayausa it had been sent to investigate. That conclusion may have been premature; reader mbone writes that "The BBC now has a story, 'Hayabusa capsule particles may be from asteroid.' Apparently JAXA (the Japanese Space Agency) has opened the sample container returned to Earth by Hayabusa, and has released 'images of tiny dust particles inside the container.' Whether they are asteroid particles or pieces of dust brought all the way from Earth remains to be seen, but they were certainly returned from the asteroid — a remarkable technical feat. This announcement, I think, gives considerable hope that these particles are from the near-Earth asteroid, Itokawa, as the Japanese have been very careful in trying to avoid contamination. Even a tiny speck of dust would be very revealing about the asteroid's constitution and possibly its history as well. Kudos to JAXA for a job well done."

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As I said in the previous story about the Hayabusa (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32810862)

...the fact that they managed to land on a moving asteroid is amazing. The fact that they were able to land on a moving asteroid, take off from that asteroid after landing, and successfully make it back to Earth is nothing short of astounding.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32810908)

Epic mission is epic.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (4, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32810946)

Next time, they need to leave Bruce Willis.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811132)

The "moving" part doesn't complicate anything once you're in space. It wouldn't be like a fly landing on a bullet; the asteroid is only moving relative to other objects in space. As far as the spacecraft is concerned the asteroid is stationary and it can take all the time it needs to land on it.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (5, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811198)

The "moving" part doesn't complicate anything once you're in space. It wouldn't be like a fly landing on a bullet; the asteroid is only moving relative to other objects in space. As far as the spacecraft is concerned the asteroid is stationary and it can take all the time it needs to land on it.

Try adding a rotation into the mix. Imagine your asteroid is rotating around any axis - and trying to get a space-ship to FOLLOW that rotation without the gravity necessary to actually pull it in.

It's much more complicated than high school physics class.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

Fat Cow (13247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811278)

I would aim for the non-rotating parts

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811388)

...

What if it is ALL rotating?

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811440)

it cant be... unless its a wobbler

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0)

tessellated (265314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812204)

As seen in Arthur C. Clarke's 'Rendezvous with Rama'.
Read it if you haven't yet!

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (3, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812546)

You can't forget that gravity either. Its small, but its significant. Because asteroids tend to have awkward shapes too, you can't depend on orbits or any of the other tools you'd use for a real planet. If you're not keeping a kilometer or more away, you have to have a really good gravity map to avoid smashing into the thing.

But like you said, you can't depend on that gravity to actually hold you down, which makes it all harder still. Operations near asteroids are definitely one of the hardest things we do in deep space right now.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32816664)

Let's not forget that most asteroids have natural thrusters, and can "course correct" at any time.

( this may not apply here, I have no idea where the asteroid was in relation to the sun )

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

GumphMaster (772693) | more than 4 years ago | (#32818324)

Thinking of comets and their evaporation as they approach the Sun perhaps?

This asteroid is an inner-solar system dwelling rock, not a deep space dirty snowball.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32819188)

Ah yes, I see that it doesn't fall under what I was thinking.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#32821620)

However, they can still exhibit some odd motion due to things like the Yarkovsky effect. Those are more important in the long term though, so aren't going to affect short term nav too much.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811162)

Well the asteroid in kinda moving in the same direction as the Earth. Landing on a non-moving asteroid would have been harder.

Not really that amazing (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811270)

While I am a fan of this mission, you really can not call it a landing since the asteroid has such little gravity. The fact is, that if you were next to the asteroid and simply had a small leak in your face place, and faced the asteroid, you would take off. It is probably more accurate to say that Hayabusa was parked next to the asteroid, which in itself is quite an accomplishment.

Re:Not really that amazing (5, Insightful)

northernfrights (1653323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811558)

Lol, I'm sure the original poster was well aware of the fact that there was negligible gravity. I don't think he was amazed by the actual act of lifting off the asteroid. It's the extremely precise trajectory that had to be flown in order to "park" next to the asteroid, and the fact that it actually had to stop, and then form a new extremely precise trajectory all of it's own accord to return back to earth. This is all totally unprecedented, and yes, it really is that amazing.

Re:Not really that amazing (3, Funny)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812470)

Yeah, I mean, you have the whole emptiness of space to park, but nooooo, you have to park right next to it, don't you. And then you open the door and hit it on the asteroid, isn't it...

Bastard

Re:Not really that amazing (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812850)

It's the extremely precise trajectory that had to be flown in order to "park" next to the asteroid, and the fact that it actually had to stop, and then form a new extremely precise trajectory all of it's own accord to return back to earth.
 
This is all totally unprecedented, and yes, it really is that amazing.

It's unprecedented in the same way that you learning to parallel park was unprecedented. Sure, you had never 'driven a precise trajectory' before - but many, many others have.

Re:Not really that amazing (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811804)

It is probably more accurate to say that Hayabusa was parked next to the asteroid, which in itself is quite an accomplishment.

That was the plan, but oops [planetary.org] , MINERVA, the detachable mini-lander, missed, and went sailing off into deep space.

For the sampling mission, the plan was to make brief contact with the sample-grabbing-gadget, but the probe actually sat there for 30 minutes [isas.jaxa.jp] . Then it popped back up, and tried again a few days later.

Maybe it had a weight of a tenth of a gram in the feeble gravity of a 500-meter rubble pile, but it's technically correct (the best kind of correct!) to say that not only did Hayabusa land on an asteroid, it landed twice on the asteroid.

Kudos to JAXA for a job well-done, and the image of Earth on final approach was just sweet. Totally unnecessary to verify that the probe was on target, but taken just because after 7 years of mission-threatening failures, it was good to be home. (Even if its last thoughts were "I wonder if it'll be friends with me?" in reference to the wind, not the ground :)

Re:Not really that amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32812420)

I'm going to take a small leak in your face place!

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (2, Informative)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811312)

...the fact that they managed to land on a moving asteroid is amazing. The fact that they were able to land on a moving asteroid, take off from that asteroid after landing, and successfully make it back to Earth is nothing short of astounding.

Especially considering that portion of the mission was secondary. It's primary mission was to test the ion engines.

Of course, setting the bar relatively low is very common for these sorts of activities. The Mars Rovers had what, a 90-day, mission? Spirit was functional (in some form) for over 6 years. Opportunity is still functional since January 2004.

Of course the 90 days was just the 'minimum for justification of the mission' and the 'warranty' period of the rovers (The minimum amount of time that they were expected to operate). But like Scotty, with an absurd over-estimate (or in this case, under-estimate) when you shatter that estimate it makes you look pretty spectacular. (Or just really bad at estimates)

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (2, Informative)

JamesP (688957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812506)

Curiously enough the ion engines failed big on this one...

they had 3 engines. They would stop working, then get back to work, etc. They had to "take parts" of one ion engine and fit it on another engine (all electrically of course)

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812780)

Of course the 90 days was just the 'minimum for justification of the mission' and the 'warranty' period of the rovers (The minimum amount of time that they were expected to operate).

No, that was just the estimated amount of time before dust accumulation on the solar panels would prevent it from receiving adequate power. The rovers and their components were never designed, estimated to last, or "warrantied" for 90 days, even as a low-ball minimum-guarantee. It was always a statement about environmental conditions on Mars, and once they saw that the environment was different and the Martian wind was strong enough to blow the panels clean, 90 days got thrown out the window because that's all it ever meant.

But like Scotty, with an absurd over-estimate (or in this case, under-estimate) when you shatter that estimate it makes you look pretty spectacular. (Or just really bad at estimates)

There was nothing absurd about it. It was just based on a faulty assumption. If the rover mission had been planned knowing Mars would be kind enough to clean the solar panels for them, they would have planned for a much longer mission. It would have probably still been a lower estimate than the possible lifetime of the rovers as one would expect to ensure that it is probable they would last that long, but not an absurd under-estimate.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32813264)

No, that was just the estimated amount of time before dust accumulation on the solar panels would prevent it from receiving adequate power. The rovers and their components were never designed, estimated to last, or "warrantied" for 90 days, even as a low-ball minimum-guarantee.

Wow. You really are taking issue with the statement, "amount of time they were expected to operate", and suggesting that 'estimated amount of time' before they ceased to receive adequate power is that necessary of a distinction?

Of course, this is slashdot. I should expect the pedantry.

(Sorry, I meant to say this is http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=.... [slashdot.org] )

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32814846)

Wow. You really are taking issue with the statement, "amount of time they were expected to operate", and suggesting that 'estimated amount of time' before they ceased to receive adequate power is that necessary of a distinction?

I'm not taking issue with your precise wording, I'm taking issue with your entire characterization of the situation. You are comparing the 90 day mission time frame to the 6-year observed lifespan of the rovers and saying it was either a case of Scotty-esque absurd understatement, or that they simply suck at estimating. That's not a matter of pedantry; it's just utterly wrong.

You can reword it such that you make the rover breaking down from a mechanical or electrical failure sound only minutely different than a perfectly functional rover being unable to operate because of the environment, and in the broadest sense of "how long can we expect the mission to go?" they're the same. Yet in the more specific sense of whether or not the answer to that question is an "absurd understatement", the difference between the two perfectly demonstrates why that is not the case.

See what I'm saying? The only reason they said 90 days was because of a faulty assumption about Martian weather, and when that assumption proved to be false, there was no reason for the rovers to fail anytime soon. Given Mars with no wind, the 90 day estimate would have been largely correct. When they discovered Mars had wind, which was before 90 days had passed, they abandoned that estimate since it no longer applied. The subsequent long life of the rovers given Mars with wind in no way demonstrates that the original estimate was a deliberate understatement of the rover's potential.

If NASA had that the rover had landed next to a cliff, and the only exit for the rover would have sent it right off the cliff immediately and so they predicted a 20 second lifespan, but then it turned out there wasn't a cliff there, you wouldn't say six years later "They predicted a 20 second lifespan, but it lasted 6 years! They suck at estimating!" You could chastise them for their abilities at cliff detection, but calling it a Scotty-esque sandbag would be utterly wrong no matter how you worded it.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811350)

Considering the number of failures that they had it is nothing short of astounding.
I just hope that they are from Itokawa. If not it will be yet another failure in a string that has plagued this mission. Let's hope it ends on a high note.

everything is moving all the time...., (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811472)

all the way up to the speed of right. why there's even spaces in the spaces. feat don't fail me now.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812710)

.the fact that they managed to land on a moving asteroid is amazing. The fact that they were able to land on a moving asteroid, take off from that asteroid after landing, and successfully make it back to Earth is nothing short of astounding.

the fact that they tried to drive a rover onto the asteroid which immediately floated off into space because they forgot about a little thing called GRAVITY is nothing short of mind blowingly idiotic

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32812738)

> The fact that they were able to land on a moving asteroid

Feh. What's "moving"? Apollo 11 took off from a "moving" planet, landed on a "moving" moon, took off again and landed back on the "moving" planet.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32813756)

With all due respect, given the cost to humanity, I think we could and should be doing much more and far better. It just that it seems to me that space exploration is now only for the affluent and now only from the safety of a lab. Please excuse my extreme cynicism, however, personally, I don't see anything really going on these days but a lot of cushy jobs for the well-positioned.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32820796)

Space isn't happening because it is simply energetically impractical. It takes colossal amounts of energy to just get there, and then what? It's mostly empty. There's nothing up there we don't have on Earth, and really, humans aren't mean to be in space.

There's nothing to get, and nothing to do there. We're better off applying our technology and resources to the 7 billion or so people here on Earth, than spending it on the cushy few who get to twirl around the Earth in a tin can to accomplish nothing.

Space is empty. We know how to make a vacuum here. All the fantasies about space are just that, fantasies. There will never be asteroid mining or He3 collecting on the Moon. It's absurd.

And if you don't know why it's absurd, I can't explain it better than this : It takes a thousands time more energy to do anything in space than it takes on Earth. Forget industry. Makes no sense at all.

Solar power in space? The barely x4 factor of sunlight you get in space really doesn't pay for the 100x cost compared to just putting 4x more solar panels on Earth. Forget it, makes no sense.

If it did, they'd have done it in the '70s during the Energy Crisis.

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32817934)

Yeah, because usually, you just blast away at the asteroids until that flying saucer shows up, then it's 5000 bonus points! Every time I try to land on an asteroid though, BOOM!

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32817960)

Like the Russians did in 1970 with Luna 16?

Re:As I said in the previous story about the Hayab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32832328)

...the fact that they managed to land on a moving asteroid is amazing. The fact that they were able to land on a moving asteroid, take off from that asteroid after landing, and successfully make it back to Earth is nothing short of astounding.

This achievement is significant and once again proves JAXA is a competent space agency, but close orbits and even landing on an asteroid with a space probe has been done before [wikipedia.org] , on February 12th, 2001 by NASA. What makes the NEAR Shoemaker mission even more of an achievement was, unlike Hayabusa, the NEAR probe wasn't specifically designed or intended to be involved in a landing!

If you really want the Japanese to get into space (-1, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32810874)

... tell them that the particles indicate that asteroids are made out of sushi.

... and whales. Let's not forget whales.

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (1)

arkane1234 (457605) | more than 4 years ago | (#32810938)

That's lame... I'm sorry, but that joke's been so overdone it's cold and underground now...

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811124)

If you don't feed the trolls, they will be cold and underground.

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32810990)

Silly human, whales are from the moon, not from asteroids.

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811010)

what do you suggest will get xenophobic bigots to leave the planet?

You insensitive clod! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811564)

I am a xenophobic bigot, you insensitive clod!

I think people who are bigoted against xenophobic bigots need to leave the planet.

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (1)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812840)

Voting in Democrat!

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32813010)

Fuck off, weeaboo. Japanese culture has a strong tradition of xenophobia and a feeling of cultural superiority. Must be a human thing.

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (0, Flamebait)

PapaBoojum (232247) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811340)

The whale in space experiment was already tried and was a failure. Just ask the bowl of petunias.

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811548)

The bowl of petunias was also a failure. Ask the mice.

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32815358)

The bowl of petunias was also a failure. Ask the mice.

The mice were a failure too.

Re:If you really want the Japanese to get into spa (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32815308)

... tell them that the particles indicate that asteroids are made out of sushi.

... and whales. Let's not forget whales.

...and dolphins. Let's not forget dolphins.

Awesome... (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32810888)

If these prove to be dust particles from the asteroid, this will be a big step for mankind.

Re:Awesome... (4, Funny)

cruff (171569) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811078)

If these prove to be dust particles from the asteroid, this will be a big step for mankind.

Yes, we'll have found yet another place that needs vacuuming.

Re:Awesome... (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811952)

Perhaps we should send them a Dyson.

Re:Awesome... (2, Funny)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812854)

Space already has a vacuum you idiot!

Re:Awesome... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32815420)

Space already has a vacuum you idiot!

Space already has a vacuum you insensitive clod, you insensitive clod.

Re:Awesome... (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32817948)

LMAO. I left you an opening for that one.

Re:Awesome... (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32823530)

I foresee a product range of spherical Vacuum Cleaners

Re:Awesome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32814464)

Seems like a job for... MegaMaid

Re:Awesome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811084)

i understand the how this is quite a technological achievement, landing on a asteroid and then coming back to earth. but i don't see how collecting the dust from the asteroid is going to be a big step for mankind.

Re:Awesome... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811214)

You are obviously missing the implications for the advancement of dustbuster technology.

Re:Awesome... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32815440)

You are obviously missing the implications for the advancement of dustbuster technology.

Don't worry, the Chinese will pirate it somehow.

Re:Awesome... (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811296)

Ok, ok... another good step, in the right direction...

Re:Awesome... (1)

yukk (638002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32819242)

I read the bible and it's still not a very good story.

Re:Awesome... (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32824818)

It's not supposed to be a "good" story. It's supposed to be lessons for living life. It includes the good, the bad, and the ugly of what it is to be a human, and the hope that we can be forgiven for those wrong acts we do, and become the best human, and the best humanity, we can be.
 
As a person who believes what the Bible teaches, I still don't find the Bible a good "curl up in an armchair and read at leisure" kind of book. But I wouldn't curl up in an armchair to read (at leisure) a complex manual for a complicated device, yet if I needed to understand the device in order to make it work correctly, I would still read the difficult manual in a hope to understand it... that is, after all, what the Bible really is—a technical manual for living.

Re:Awesome... (1)

yukk (638002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32835480)

Well, don't make any mistakes in your devout worship for the bible sayeth that he who worship not devoutly should be stoned (or somesuch if you believe Jeremiah)
Follow not the false idol Steve Jobs nor embrace his false icons the iThingies or though shall be killed (Exodus)
And so forth ...

Re:Awesome... (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 4 years ago | (#32838384)

If one has done a thorough study of the bible, it becomes clear that the old testament laws are so strict and overwhelming precisely for the express purpose of showing that it is impossible to earn eternal life by abiding by all of these laws. This is why Jesus had to pay the price for every time anyone has broken any of these laws. He chose to take the full punishment of all of humanity on himself so that anyone who would choose to follow his simple commandments, some of which are "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself" and "Go into all the world and preach the good news", would be given mercy.
 
One way to look at it is that we start life with $0 in spiritual righteousness, and doing right does not earn anything (why should it? Doing right is simply what is expected of us for being alive), but doing wrong costs us, so we fall into debt immediately and can never get out, but Jesus came along and offered to pay off all the debt for us—all we have to do is believe he exists, believe he has the authority to forgive the debt (or can afford to pay it off), and allow him to do so. He pays off the debt, and asks us to live a life that will not incur additional debt. We will fail, but his grace and mercy pays the debt again and again. This means that though we will fail, we do not willfully choose to fail, knowing that it causes further cost to Jesus for our actions.
 
Hopefully this helps you see that the law is not there to bind us to it, but to remind us of our inability to pay off our own debt of sin, thereby reminding us of how much Jesus and God love us and are willing to do in order to free us from our own increasing debt.

Re:Awesome... (1)

yukk (638002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32847854)

Hahaha.
Okay. I think you have your ideas and I have mine. Let's just leave it at that

Re:Awesome... (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811126)

If these prove to be dust particles from the asteroid, this will be a big step for mankind.

In other news; aliens made contact and mankind stepped into interplanetary communication. This is indeed a great step for humankind!

After or worlds finest cryptologists made sense of the message and translated it to English, they've sent it to the public domain for interpretation and further research. The message was decrypted as saying:

"Thanks, next week I'm on holiday it would be GREAT if you'd vacuum the other side of my asteroid as well on tuesday."

Re:Awesome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32814530)

Could you elaborate how? There are millions of impact sites on earth so we already know what asteroids are made of. I acknowledge the technical execution of landing on an asteroid but would like clarification on your comment.

Re:Awesome... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32815390)

If these prove to be dust particles from the asteroid, this will be a big step for mankind.

Are the Japanese capable of lying, to save face?

Re:Awesome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32817256)

No!
And we are not rying!!
Arigato gozaimasu.

Re:Awesome... (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 4 years ago | (#32836414)

While Japanese are people just like Americans with similar faults, there is one area that lying would be unthinkable: Science. Especially space. I believe there is even a belief in the purity of research into nature, that goes beyond what is generally found in the U.S.A.

For example I remember seeing a story (animated and broadcast semiannually in Japan) about a scientist manning a seismic research station on a mountaintop, and he decides he must remain there during a volcanic eruption in order to give warning to everyone else up to the last moment.

Also while there are attempts now to change academia to work with business and make spinoff companies, there has been a great reluctance on the part of Japanese scientists to do business which has been seen as dirty.

So while I was angry at first to read your post I must say the answer is that the Japanese are capable of whatever humans are capable of doing, but that lying "to save face" is highly unlikely, and almost certainly not possible for these people anyway.

If anything the Japanese way rather is either to be straightforward and take the consequences (bushido) or to preserve gray ambiguous areas and leave things unstated (politicians, who also can say "I don't remember that, my secretary handles all my business").

Re:Awesome... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32841392)

While Japanese are people just like Americans with similar faults, there is one area that lying would be unthinkable: Science.

Unfortunately, saving face is more important. Since Japanese society is communal, embarrassment reflects upon your elders / seniors (ie. family). Anything from cutting off a finger to committing sepuku is acceptable and often obligatory.
The Yakuza has existed for centuries, possibly longer than the Sicilian mafia, they make their money however they can. Remember the banking scandal a few years back? Billions lost, people were embarrassed, people died, people came up missing, yet no mention of the Yakuza.
This information is no way a definitive source and I am not saying the Yakuza were involved, however it will open your eyes to what really is out there about saving face and how it is dealt with. Project Camelot [projectcamelot.org]

Re:Awesome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32818156)

Yeah, so amazing. Like the Moon rocks we got back 40 years ago, we now use those in ... uhhmm, nothing at all.

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811012)

IS it a remarkable feat if nasa has been able to do it with comets?

Not bad ... (1, Funny)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811114)

... for a little Suzuki motorcycle.

Re:Not bad ... (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812288)

Considering it's 86.4 inches long and weighs 550lbs "dry", the Hayabusa is actually a pretty large motorcycle.

Re:Not bad ... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32813728)

True again.

Unfortunately whoever marked the earlier comment as Flamebait and Offtopic seriously needs to develop a sense of humor.

Re:Not bad ... (1)

FlyByWire63 (992071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32821174)

No matter how fast I drive my Hayabusa, I've still not managed to get it up to escape velocity...let alone park it next to an asteroid!

Re:Not bad ... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 4 years ago | (#32822878)

Well, you're still young. Lots of time for practice. ;)

Space Flu (0, Offtopic)

MrTripps (1306469) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811134)

If you thought Swine Flu was bad, wait until we have to deal with Space Flu. It causes you to sneeze Tribbles and turn numerous shades of green.

Re:Space Flu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811424)

Awful. Simply awful. Like, even for /. awful.

Error in the summary (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811142)

I thought the name of the spacecraft was Hayabusa, not Hayausa... A little spell checking would not be that bad before posting stories! Not that I am a grammar freak (I am a french Canadian), but this one is so obvious!

Re:Error in the summary (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811872)

Not that I am a grammar freak (I am a french Canadian)

Okay, this has to be modded funny, just for that.

The Final Frontier (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811282)

Hopefully they will find something in the samples they brought back that indicates life or something equally as great (perhaps some new elements for the periodic table?).

This incredible accomplishment comes shortly after America has scaled back it's space program and decided to concentrate on a "commercial" space industry. I hope that JAXA can continue doing what NASA is supposed to be doing too, which is pushing the final frontier and the technology needed to get there. Maybe if they start discovering new amazing things it will push NASA and Obama to rethink their scaling back on the space program.

Re:The Final Frontier (1)

Winchestershire (1495475) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811498)

Well, who knows, maybe in the near future some companies will invest in searching for extraterrestrial sources of rare-earth and heavy minerals. If they can find some solid leads on some of these asteroids, it could very well be the start of a 21st century land-grab (more specifically mineral grab) and perhaps the first step in colonization beyond Earth.

Re:The Final Frontier (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812092)

Its doubtful you'd find anything life-like there, except maybe some building blocks. (And by life I mean life as we know it.) Also, no new elements, since the only new ones that could exist don't form from supernovae or anything like that. Its not like there are any missing, we just can't get stable ones higher than a certain atomic number. The real advances come from understanding the mineral content and its implications on how the solar system formed, as well as potentially opening up the long term possibility of mining.

And you do realize that NASA's budget has been increased, and unmanned missions such as this are doing just fine, with many new ones on the docket. What Obama did do is attempt to shut down Constellation, an expensive and unnecessarily complex manned program that tried to reconstruct the past glories of Apollo with no real purpose, and that was sucking the money out of unmanned missions. Commercialization is simply about finding an inexpensive way to get people to orbit so that NASA can get back to doing real exploration without having to find unsustainable amounts of money.

Re:The Final Frontier (1)

MoldySpore (1280634) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812692)

Their budget increased, but they have stopped funding for manned space missions and reallocated it to research. At least that is what the Obama administration wants to do. They haven't officially decided the direction of NASA, though, as the committee deciding NASA's future recently "...sidestepped a potential vote on NASA’s future, opting to take “no position” on White House plans to scrap NASA’s moon rocket program and replace the space shuttle with commercial rockets." [orlandosentinel.com]

Re:The Final Frontier (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812750)

They are trying to stop funding for Constellation. Manned space missions like the ISS would be extended under the administrations plan. And when you can get to LEO with people for something a lot cheaper than Ares 1 (what commercialization promises), you open a lot of possibilities for impressive missions that can be completed within 5-10 years on a modest budget.

Plus the parent post was discussing unmanned missions, which do quite well under the new proposed budget, given that Constellation was so budget-hungry it was threatening everything else NASA does.

Re:The Final Frontier (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812348)

Maybe ... it will push NASA and Obama to rethink their scaling back on the space program

No need! Obama has already given NASA a brand new top priority. According to NASA's director, the agency's foremost (his word) objective is now to "reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering." No, really. That is the director's new top priority. Really [sfexaminer.com] .

Re:The Final Frontier (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 4 years ago | (#32815780)

No need! Obama has already given NASA a brand new top priority. According to NASA's director, the agency's foremost (his word) objective is now to "reach out to the Muslim world ...

And when you do reach out, they will chop off your hand. For a society that keeps its women covered, ignorant, completely devoid of legal and individual rights, no good will come of this.
These people are in the 12th century, and have no desire to advance, except to advance intolerant Islam.

Re:The Final Frontier (2, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32812916)

Good thing they're doing the opposite of scaling back their program, broadening their cutting edge research along with their budget, and freeing up all the money wasted developing an in-house vehicle. NASA will be able to pursue more missions similar to what JAXA has done, testing new forms of propulsion and automated systems etc. Things that would not be possible if we kept pursuing an Apollo repeat that does nothing to advance us, just proves we can still do what we did 40 years ago, like a man in a mid-life crisis whose big ambition in life is to simply repeat what he did in high school.

Or put another way: If you're impressed by this mission, or at least what it was trying to achieve, and want to see NASA do things like it, then you should be 100% for the new plan.

Re:The Final Frontier (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32814034)

Hopefully they will find something in the samples they brought back that indicates life or something equally as great (perhaps some new elements for the periodic table?).

Hopefully we won't be reduced to Sterno addicts and crying babies!

For the younger folks, that was a (bad) reference to the "Andromeda Strain".

Apple-coring Itokawa to travel in style (1)

fritsd (924429) | more than 4 years ago | (#32819246)

Why do you want new elements??
Lessee..
C, H, O, N, P, K, S, Mg for food and oxygen production
Si for energy (amorphous Silicon solar cells)
Fe, Al for construction
Si, Ca, Na for glass (UV-shielded greenhouse)
I probably missed a lot, e.g. how to keep it isolated from the cold.
And then you have a very slow, but large & comfy and *VERY* well radiation-shielded, Mars spaceship:
Mars crossers that are also Earth-crossers or grazers [wikipedia.org]
C'mon! Don't tell me this hasn't crossed any of the Slashdotters' minds!
The only missing link AFAICS is how to purify the materials using only solar cells of the spaceship for energy.
I had a truly marvellous idea but unfortunately this Slashdot article is too narrow to contain it (and it might just be stupid...).

Picture Caption (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32811488)

What is the second image a picture of? and why is that caption so terrible?

Re:Picture Caption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32811632)

From the Article:

The second photograph, taken on 29 June, shows a magnified view of a minute particle being picked up by a quartz manipulator, which appears as a stripe on the image.

Emperor's Wishes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32812172)

Was this before or after they discovered nuclear fusion? Or was that a different country...

Failure is not an option.

Sadly not what I had hoped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32812210)

I hope I'm not the only person who saw this and immediately thought "Ninja Gaiden/Asteroids crossover? Awesome!"

They obviously haven't seen "The Blob" before. (1)

Sam_In_The_Hills (458570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32813236)

Now that Steve McQueen is dead, we are all doomed!!!

Asteroid Wars (1)

NiteShaed (315799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32815250)

Sure, the Japanese *say* that this is being done for research purposes, but just wait until the leftover asteroid-meat starts turning up in markets around Tokyo. My new group, "Space Shepherds" stands against the Japanese asteroid-fleet, using a decommissioned space-shuttle, and we will interfere with their phony "research" in any way we can. C'mon people, at this rate, in only a few billion years, the Japanese will have decimated the population of asteroids to the point where these majestic clumps of ice and rock will no longer roam the skies. We need to save them for our grandchildren, er, well, great-grandchildren....no, great-great......whatever, we need to save them so future-people can see them.

frost pi5t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32817032)

hype - BSD's GNAA and supp0rt wasn't on Steve's Later seen in so on, FreeBSD went

Fi8st.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32818404)

Head and shoulders (1)

boundary (1226600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32818864)

It's probably a flake of dandruff from one of the technicians.
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