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Hayabusa Earth Flyby Swings Toward Asteroid

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the swing-low-sweet-chariot dept.

Space 85

An anonymous reader writes "As the first of its kind to return asteroid samples to Earth, the Japanese Hayabusa mission took pictures this week during its successful Earth flyby. Eventually headed to the asteroid belt, the probe will feature a novel sample collection 'horn' which hops around on the asteroid's surface and lands intermittently for only a second at a time. The samples will be dust clouds fired up from repeated bullet impacts, since the asteroid's low gravity makes it difficult to 'land' on. When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid."

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Obligatory Ninja gaiden reference (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9220984)

Your father has been killed in a duel with an asteroid and you are given his magic horn to avenge his death. Press start to play!
(Note for the people who don't get the reference, Hayabusa was the last name of the Ninja in the Ninja Gaiden games)

Re:Obligatory Ninja gaiden reference (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221040)

(From the author who chooses to stay AC because I don't want to take credit for such a bad joke)
How did this get modded interesting, it was supposed to be a bade joke!!

Re:Obligatory Ninja gaiden reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221082)

You've been waiting years to trot that our, haven't you?

Re:Obligatory Ninja gaiden reference (1, Redundant)

RevDobbs (313888) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221131)

No, Kawasaki makes the Ninja... the Hayabusa is made by Suzuki [pashnit.com] ...

Re:Obligatory Ninja gaiden reference (0, Redundant)

afish40 (774995) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221137)

It would have been funnier if you didn't explain it. But yeah, Ninja Gaiden was the first thing I thought of too.

And also Pro Wrestling... (0, Redundant)

Daverd (641119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221162)

Don't forget about Fighter Hayabusa.
A winner is you!

Ultraman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221169)

God damnit.

What's all this fuss about some measily satellite doing the job?

Why don't the Japanese just send Ultraman up there and just bring the asteriod back to Tokyo? He'll need to fly fast; he has only 3 minutes of ejaculation ... er... energy.

Re:Ultraman (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221284)

Cause if they did that - the asteroid would destory Tokyo and Godzilla would fight whatever alien space creature lived on the asteroid, destroying whatever was left of Tokyo from the asteroid impact. :-)

SOVIET RUSSIA! (1, Funny)

RoboB0B (751580) | more than 10 years ago | (#9220987)

In Soviet Russia the asteroids land on you! I'm sorry I had to.

Re:SOVIET RUSSIA! (-1, Offtopic)

four12 (129324) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221042)

Wasn't the Tunguska [bo.infn.it] incident from a icy comet/comet fragment? So, not technically an asteroid.

Re:SOVIET RUSSIA! (Tunguska??) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221072)

I suppose what you mean is the Tunguska incident. Shit happens you know, and I guess I just caused a similar incident in the toilet bowl I'm sitting on... You know, with Intel Centrino Mobile Technology I can now sit with my notebook on the crapper. Damm... I forgot to take the cam with me, I would have loved to indulge your fecal fantasies! You know, I really hate it when I forget to clean my ass in time and the shit starts to dry up and itch.

Re:SOVIET RUSSIA! (-1, Offtopic)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221181)

"In Soviet Russia the asteroids land on you! I'm sorry I had to. "

In Soviet Russia, your joke is funny!!

Re:SOVIET RUSSIA! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9223603)

In Soviet Russia, joke finds you boring!

Re:SOVIET RUSSIA! (-1, Offtopic)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222870)

In Soviet Russia the asteroids land on you! I'm sorry I had to.

That's Tsarist Russia. The Tunguska blast occurred in 1908.

Love Japanese names (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9220990)

Hayabusa

Hay! A Bus! eh?

Almost as good as Shit Ache mushrooms, or corporate honcho Take-Shit-A.

I wonder what our Western names sound like to Japanese ears?

Re:Love Japanese names (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221067)

Depends on the name. Some, like William or Michael sound foreign, but in a good way. Others, like Bacha (a common last name) would be considered funny since that means 'idiot' in Japanese :). (PS: I'm not Japanese, but work with some).

Re:Love Japanese names (1)

theTerribleRobbo (661592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9223777)

Ano sa... I think you're looking for Baka [kanji-a-day.com] , not 'Bacha'.

Re:Love Japanese names (1)

lord_nightrose (652871) | more than 9 years ago | (#9225348)

He's talking about the pronounciation, O Enlightened One...

Re:Love Japanese names (1)

theTerribleRobbo (661592) | more than 10 years ago | (#9228134)

Shh. Details. ;)

Hey, I don't see the name 'Bacha' very often. I assumed it sounded like 'Bah-cha'. :(

Re:Love Japanese names (1)

lord_nightrose (652871) | more than 10 years ago | (#9228147)

Heh. "Bacha (a common last name)"... and where might this be??

Question from a Newbie (-1, Offtopic)

d_magnum (781945) | more than 10 years ago | (#9220997)

Hey, I'm new here at Slashdot and I know this is off topic, but I have a burning question. Is it possible for someone with moderator points to mod the same post twice? In otherwords, could moderator Joe use two of his mod points to put me down where I belong, or would it take Joe and Bill?

Re:Question from a Newbie (1)

d_magnum (781945) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221060)

Very good, very good, now please, how many people did that to me? Could it have been one?

Re:Question from a Newbie (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221179)

Hey, I've posted a link to a site with the answer: HERE [rotten.com]

Welcome to slashdot!

Small procedure shortcut? (5, Funny)

Roland Piquepaille (780675) | more than 10 years ago | (#9220998)

Hayabusa, which is Japanese for "falcon", will act much like its namesake, descending to the asteroid's surface, capturing its prey and returning it to Earth.

Presumably it'll let go of it before coming back? otherwise it'll be the biggest space sample ever collected.

Re:Small procedure shortcut? (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221031)

"Hayabusa, which is Japanese for "falcon", will act much like its namesake, descending to the asteroid's surface, capturing its prey and returning it to Earth."

Presumably it'll let go of it before coming back? otherwise it'll be the biggest space sample ever collected.


Since the sample is just asteroid fragments broken off by a bullet, it'll hold on to them.

The worrying mission is ESA's "Rosetta" mission. That one's going to harpoon an entire asteroid.

Re:Small procedure shortcut? (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 9 years ago | (#9224962)

Since the sample is just asteroid fragments broken off by a bullet, it'll hold on to them.
And in a few centuries the small changes this creates in it's trajectory will cause the asteroid to crash right on the Duke Nukem 4Ever release party.

Re:Small procedure shortcut? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221132)

Presumably it'll let go of it before coming back? otherwise it'll be the biggest space sample ever collected.

... and maybe the last ...

Re:Small procedure shortcut? (1)

emtboy9 (99534) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221917)

Hayabusa, which is Japanese for "falcon", will act much like its namesake, descending to the asteroid's surface, capturing its prey and returning it to Earth.

Yes, but will it make the trip in under 12 parces??

Re:Small procedure shortcut? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9223563)

the European Rosetta mission will harpoon the ... asteroid.

Let Go! Let Go! No, don't return home!

I got a bridge for sale... (0, Redundant)

unixbugs (654234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221004)

... on an asteroid.

This should be interesting once the technology matures. Going out and nabbing an asteroid is a gold mine just waiting to be tapped. Some of those rocks have enough metal in them to build another moon.

Re:I got a bridge for sale... (1)

bobhagopian (681765) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221048)

Aha! We know who you are unixbugs, or should I say, Darth Vader.

What? (2, Informative)

barakn (641218) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221983)

Some of those rocks have enough metal in them to build another moon.

According to "Moons and Planets" by W. Hartmann, the total mass of asteroids is 3x10^21 kg, "only about 4% the mass of the moon."

Re:I got a bridge for sale... (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 9 years ago | (#9225050)

The only real value those asteroid metals have, is already being up there. If you would be building a space-factory or -station it could be cheaper to mine an asteroid than to ship metals up from Earth.
But for use on Earth it's way cheaper to dig a hole to get those metals than to launch the equipment to mine the asteroids.

Typical Japansese Tourist! (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221016)

Photographing everything in sight.

Harpoon? (4, Funny)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221018)

When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid
He beckons! Follow him, men! Death to the white asteroid!

Just a thought.... (1)

Giant Panda (779279) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221025)

Rube Goldberg would be proud!

*pop* (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221034)

When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid.

Imagine the looks on the faces of those in control as the asteroid pops like a balloon... :)

oh.. (2, Funny)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221036)

I was really confused with that "Swings towards" phase..

Ah well, one can never tell these days...

I love Earth flybys... (4, Interesting)

another_henry (570767) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221049)

Check out this [nasa.gov] awesome photo of the Moon and Earth together, taken by Galileo more than a decade ago during its Earth flyby.

Re:I love Earth flybys... (1)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221086)

Ha! Those photos are as fake as the moon landing. They're blurry and you can't see the stars.

</tongue in cheek>

Re:I love Earth flybys... (1)

rhuntley12 (621658) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222029)

Neat picture, thanks. I'm always amazed at how pictures from space look so fake. Maybe it's just the black background and the dark blue oceans.

Artist's impression (4, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221051)

The article has an artist's impression [astrobio.net] of Muses-C doing its thing. Takes me back to the old books I used to read that were full of airbrush pictures - artist's impressions of futuristic space missions. There's something inspiring about that style that computer graphics have never been able to replicate.

Yes! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221058)

I don't care what they actually do - as long as the Japanese space program keeps naming its missions after ninjas, I'm there.

Re:Yes! (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221192)

You are just gonna love the Donatello mission to Pizza5634 in 2012. Apparently its something to do with checking out the crust.

Just wait for the Anime version! (1)

gg3po (724025) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221075)


Maybe this article should be under the Anime [slashdot.org] section :-) ?

Four years for one gram? (4, Funny)

Arcanix (140337) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221091)

Taking off from Kagoshima in southern Japan on its 22 month outbound trip, the Muses-C space probe is scheduled to visit the 1998 SF36 asteroid, 186 million miles from Earth, and bring back a single gram of rock in four years' time.

I bet on the street you could get at least 100 bones for that gram rock.

Re:Four years for one gram? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221177)

I'll bet on Slashdot you could find at least 100 geeks with boners for that gram of rock.

But is it the size of France? (4, Interesting)

beeplet (735701) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221105)

I'm surprised I never heard of this project before! It's a great idea - astroids contain various minerals that can be used to trace the evolution of the solar system. Of course we have some access to this info from the odd meteorite, but I would guess that rock from the astroid belt will be more "pristine".

The only drawback I see for this project is that it is only going to sample the surface of the asteroid, which is the region most exposed to cosmic radiation, cratering, and accumulated dust. Naturally there is still something to be learned from that, but I hope this is just a prelude to a more advanced mission to bore larger samples from the asteroides. I imagine that the difficulties in doing that come mostly from stabilizing the spacecraft, given that it's likely the asteroids are actually loosely bound collections of the rubble left over from previous collisions. Of course, if they're not, that would be interesting too.

And slightly off topic - I think this comparison is funny:

The material in the belt ... ranges in size from dust particles to rock chunks as big as Alaska.

Exactly how do you compare a large, roughly spherical mass to "the size of Alaska"? Maybe they mean the surface area is the same? The surface area of Alaska is about 1.5 million km-squared; the surface area of Ceres, the largest asteroid, is about 11 million km-squared - that's more like the total area of the US (9.6 million km-squared)!

Or maybe they meant to compare the radii? If Alaska were circular, it would have a radius of 690 km. The radius of Ceres is 466 km. Interestingly, a better comparison in this case would be the size of France (effective radius of 420 km), and France is of course the international standard for measuring astronomical objects... Did you know that the base of Olympus Mons is also about the size of France?

Re:But is it the size of France? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221259)

Of course we have some access to this info from the odd meteorite, but I would guess that rock from the astroid belt will be more "pristine".

Wouldn't that be disappointing: spend hundreds of millions of dollars only to find out that you have stuff that is identical to meteorites.

Many meterorites were once asteroids that got smashed up in collisions.

But even if so, I suppose it is a better way to waste money than a futile war in Iraq. *duck*

Re:But is it the size of France? (1)

stiggle (649614) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221311)

But confirming that the material from the meteorites is the same as asteroid sample is useful and not at all disappointing.
Its another theory proven or disproven, all of which advances our knowledge of the universe.

Re:But is it the size of France? (1)

NichG (62224) | more than 9 years ago | (#9225450)

Also, don't forget that this gives us an opening into asteroid mining, which would be much more practical than mining large bodies like the moon. Harpoon an asteroid, and gradually correct it's course until it makes a controlled re-entry, then just tear it apart for resources on the surface. Or leave it in orbit and use the materials there to build more structures in space without the expense of having to move materials out of a gravity well.

Re:But is it the size of France? (1)

f97tosc (578893) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221729)

Exactly how do you compare a large, roughly spherical mass to "the size of Alaska"?

This is not the first time this type of analogy is made... like in Armageddon the President is told that the rock is the "size of Texas". The president understands this as opposed to something specified in square kilometers.

I envision just a simple projection... if you dug down the rock halfway in Alaska/ Texas the borders of the rock and the state would roughly coincide. Actuyally I think it is a pretty useful measure - I immediately get some intuitive understanding for how big it would be

Tor

Re:But is it the size of France? (2, Interesting)

beeplet (735701) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221930)

Quite true. It only jumped out at me because it seemed odd to compare a 3-dimensional object to a two-dimensional one. If they had specified how deep under alaska to measure in the 3rd dimension to obtain a volume of the same size, it would have made more sense.

I also noticed it because the tendancy of science writers to compare large things with "the size of France" has become a running joke [sciam.com] . In addition to the Olympus Mons example, you might be interested to know that the Ross Ice Shelf [vims.edu] (the largest ice shelf of Antarctica)is about the size of France. And another volcano [btinternet.com] (on Io) spews out ash that covers
an area of (guess what...) the size of France!

And for those who now want to know how big France is, exactly - well, it's 1/3 the size of Quebec [fact-index.com] , and more to the point, about the same as the area covered by coral reef worldwide [newscientist.com] . :)

France by Alaska (1)

SunPin (596554) | more than 9 years ago | (#9225040)

Obviously, it's about France wide by Alaska deep.

Bad Movie (1)

KoriaDesevis (781774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221196)

When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid.

This gives me a mental image of the scene in Mission to Mars, where the crew snagged the satellite that was conveniently in orbit around Mars (and crash-landed it to the surface). Although not an identical scenario, this really is the stuff of sci-fi movies, in this particular case.

Re:Bad Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9224322)

When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface to hang on while also touching down on another small-mass asteroid.

A Spiderman spaceship, swinging from asteroid-to-asteroid... cute.

You know, Suzuki makes a Hayabusa, too. Perhaps they strapped a General Electrics turbine engine to one, filled the tank, and sent a homeless guy up there.

I call BS! (2, Insightful)

shakamojo (518620) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221209)

I know that that image is probably "enhanced" by an artist, but come on! The sun is glaring in the lens, yet the moon and earth are full, meaning the sun would be BEHIND the spacecraft... even if it is artistic license, they should try to make the image a little more realistic, it's still spectacular...

Re:I call BS! (1)

rritterson (588983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221245)

Well, the image isn't to scale. Actually, the solar panels on the spacecraft are 100's of 1000's of meters long so the earth and moon are just illuminated by the reflecting sunlight.

Come on, you remember that day when is was light all around the world don't you?

Re:I call BS! (1)

miketang16 (585602) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221356)

Obviously they are using the gigantic super-reflecto mirror to direct the light from the sun onto the moon and earth. Duh...

I for one... (1)

Exsam (768226) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221223)

Welcome our new asteroid hopping overlords.

Bullets & Harpoons in Space? (4, Funny)

CHaN_316 (696929) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221227)

"The samples will be dust clouds fired up from repeated bullet impacts, since the asteroid's low gravity makes it difficult to 'land' on. When faced with a similar problem, the European Rosetta mission alternatively will harpoon the surface."

-NOW- who's weaponizing space? Looks like the Japanese and Europeans. This is a threat to our national security! We have a space harpoon capability gap! Mr.President, we recommend making a space harpoon that is two times bigger than the european's space harpoon... to deter them from attacking more asteroids.

Re:Bullets & Harpoons in Space? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9222061)

The American mission most similar to these two ("Deep Impact", part of the Discovery Program) will launch a copper projectile weighing a third of a tonne at a Comet, it will impact at a speed of several times the speed of sound on Earth and excavate a crater somewhere around the size of a small parking lot. It will then analyze the revealed sub-surface material, the effects of the impact (softness of the rock, etc.), the debris, etc.

There's a treaty about weapons in space... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9228036)

And we haven't overtly violated it yet. But the giga dollars we spent on x-ray lasers powered by nukes during the Regan years didn't go for nothing. They were fully developed well before we quit underground nuclear testing;
Bullets and harpoons kinda pale before a foot-thick x-ray beam with 30% of the power of a multi-kiloton nuke. The vapor of the target BECOMES a kinetic weapon to things close to it.
America is just waiting for someone else to get caught weaponizing space before we start implementing such things.

"Scratching the surface" (3, Interesting)

tslack2000 (781916) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221235)

Certainly taking this to the next level as compared with the NEAR [jhuapl.edu] (Nasa Probe) that was not designed to bring back material.

While this is an improvement, it still only scratches the surface as it will only bring back "up to one gram of material". Also, consider that the gram of material is from the very surface of the asteroid, which is most likely contaminated by other collisions. Still quite an accomplishment if they can recover the material in 2007 as predicted.

Uh, oh (2, Funny)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221270)

We'd better hope the asteroid isn't inhabited; first we're going to shoot at the resident aliens, then we're going to bring them back to Earth? Fred Hoyle [wikipedia.org] must be turning over in his grave...

Mission to Earth (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221308)

...mission took pictures this week during its successful Earth flyby.

Scientist 1: "Hmmmm. There are beings on that blue planet."

Scientist 2: "What are they doing?"

Scientist 1: "Let's see. One female is dragging around a naked male on a pet leash in the middle of a war."

Scientist: 3: "I suggest we abort this mission and leave them alone before they find out about us and come here."

Scientists in unison: "Agreed! Abort."

That's Funny... (1)

susano_otter (123650) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221611)

...I figured these "scientists" would see the International Red Cross, or Jimmy Carter's work on Habitat For Humanity, and correctly assume that friendly relations with Earth were not only possible, but likely.

But hey, if it pleases you to assume that all alien researchers are stupid fucking idiots, who am I to disagree?

Re:That's Funny... (3, Interesting)

emtboy9 (99534) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221881)

Why is that so outrageous? Think about it. Earth sends off millions of watts of RF signal every second of every day. We inadvertantly beam out radio stations, television stations, communications, radar, etc etc etc.

Now, since you assume that aliens, if there are any (personally I think there probably are) are not "stupid fucking idiots" then you would also have to assume that they have means of intercepting signals on one of the most simple forms of transmission available.

Which means, for as long as the waves make it through space, anyone who gets the signal, decodes it, watches it, or listens to it and eventually understands it will hear Howard Stearn, Talk radio, really bad music, some really good music, several episodes of law and order a day, war movies, disaster movies, murder mysteries, violence in all formes of transmitted media, news feeds from war zones, news feeds from disaster zones, crime scenes, etc etc etc.

How could they NOT get a very bad picture of earth, just by observing our inadvertant transmissions?

And again, we ARE talking about a completely alien culture. For all they know, Independence Day was a documentary, showing that Earth will destroy anyone who attacks it from space. Or perhaps the War of the Worlds film will show them that if they land here, they will die of disease. Or worse.

Maybe they will see "Day after Tomorrow" and decide that since the earth is now under hundreds of feet of ice and snow, we will be easy pickings.

Then again, they may get wireless or satellite internet access, read slashdot, and fear the /. effect.

Re:That's Funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9224333)

Then again, they may get wireless or satellite internet access, read slashdot, and fear the /. effect.

Hey that's an idea; DoS the sky. We should /. a few satellites and watch the skies for explosions...

Hayabusa Confusion (3, Funny)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221339)

Did anyone else, upon reading about a Hayabusa in space, imagine for a moment something like this?

A Space Hayabusa [hallert.net]

Please? I'd hate to be the only dork out there....

AKA GSXR1300 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9222210)

You are not alone. I'm a motorcycle dork ("Ninja" 250 and a Triumph Trophy 1200) so that was this first thing to come to mind.

Wow! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221442)

I knew the Suzuki Hayabusa was fast, but I didn't realize it could reach escape velocity. Space-faring motorcycles... who'da thunk it.

Erm, Bullets and laws of inertia.... (1)

BenJeremy (181303) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221445)

So this probe is going to fire a bullet to collect a sample?

What happens when the probe is pushed back from the recoil?

Re:Erm, Bullets and laws of inertia.... (1)

rhuntley12 (621658) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222055)

I don't think it'll be a strong enough bullet to move the astroid, it's just knocking around the dust on the surface.

Abhorent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221501)

During yearly meetings of the world's astronomical organization, to which Japan is a member, resolutions on the rules of sample collection are made and each year strong resolutions are passed to make it more difficult to justify "scientific" collecting and to discourage "scientific" collecting in asteroid belts. Past attempts by Japan to use pollution research as a justification for catching asteriods in outer space have been defeated, and a request by Japan for an "interim" quota of 50 samples has been defeated. Additionally, Japan's attempt to have the legality of the outer space research questioned has been defeated. In past years, and again in 2004, resolutions were made strongly requesting Japan to halt its scientific research in outer space.

Japan is now using the same argument to justify its latest research, involving Japanese Hayabusa mission firing repeated bullets at asteroids. The mission has stirred outrage among other signatories to the asteriod research treaty. Recently, the US State Department has threatened to block Japanese imports under an American law authorizing penalties against any nation that violates a space weponization treaty. The United States is justified in invoking the so-called Smelly Amendment, which authorizes trade sanctions. The rest of the international community should follow suit.

The Japanese say that the West is culturally arrogant in asking them to abandon asteroid research.

screenplay, grade B sci fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9221541)

Japanese astroscientist --eureka, we have landed on asteroid! Taken samples! Flying back now!

Japanese businessman-- Great! Excellent! Well done! Can't wait to see the results!

~~~~~ later on, after successful recovery ~~~~

Japnese astroscientist -- Great! We have compreted analysis! Have all the asteroid samples, full print out!

Japanese business man (gleefully wringing hands, nodding eagerly) GIMMEGIMMEEGIMMEE!

Japnese businessman reads slowly, once, then again......

"Dark clouds" over face....

HEY! THIS *&^%^^** IS JUST SOME GROUND UP ROCK AND SOME SCRAP IRON, WE GOT MOUNTAINS OF SCRAP IRON SITTING OUTSIDE IN THE TOWN DUMP!!!

Japnese astroscientist -- So? What you expect? We got asteroids all over planet, always ground up rock, some iron, not worth much....

Japanese businessman --WE YOU PAID 50 TRILLION YEN FOR THIS!!!

Japanese astroscientist (to himself while smirking) --"finally, my minor in biz administration pays off, sell the sizzle, not the steak..."

erm (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9221639)

forgive my lack of physics l33t skillz...

are the asteroids in question of sufficient mass so as their orbits won't be effected by harpooning, shooting, and horning (?) them?

What's an asteroid worth? (1)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 10 years ago | (#9222722)

Consider this:

A large asteroid is basically a several thousand ton chunk of nearly pure iron. Think what that would be worth.

1. Build a space probe.
2. Have space probe guide asteroid into Earth orbit.
3. Safely bring asteroid down to Earth's surface.
4. Sell asteroid to local scrap iron dealer for $50/ton.
5. Profit!!

The best part would be watching the rednecks at the scrap yard trying to fit the asteroid into the car crusher. Implementation of the first three steps is left as an exercise to the reader.

Re:What's an asteroid worth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9224002)

You forgot a step:
4.a. ???

Obligatory ST Reference (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9223596)

Two probes head toward Earth, dragging asteroids and muttering sterilize...sterilize...

Specifically... (3, Interesting)

Captain_Chaos (103843) | more than 10 years ago | (#9224544)

Hayabusa, which is Japanese for "falcon",...

Specifically, a peregrine falcon [extremescience.com] , which is the fastest animal in the world. It can reach speeds of 440 kph (275 mph) when diving for its prey. This also accounts for the name of the fastest road bike in the world, the Suzuki Hayabusa [suzukicycles.com] . Impressive stuff...

Re:Specifically... (1)

forkboy (8644) | more than 10 years ago | (#9232368)

A friend of mine has one of those bikes. He claims he can break any posted speed limit in the US in first gear. (if he really wanted to peg the RPMs that is) I don't know for sure about that but I HAVE seem him blow by me on the highway like I was standing still when I was going over 100. That bike is just wrong.

Re:Specifically... (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9237473)

275mph is a little over the top, this bbc site [bbc.co.uk] says 170mph, and there is also this [theriver.com] , which is still lower than 275mph.
AFAIK, the Suzuki can't do 275mph either !
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