Photo: Asteroid Probe Set to "Collide" With Earth



The Hayabusa spacecraft, seen above in an artist's conception, was launched in 2003 to land on and collect samples from an asteroid known as Itokawa.

For the probe's final mission, Japanese scientists will watch the craft's return to Earth to refine their models of the trajectory, time, speed, and likelihood of an asteroid impact, scientists said in June 2009.

Image courtesy A. Ikeshita/MEF/ISAS


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