Goals: Japan built Hayabusa to test new technologies, including an ion engine, and to collect the first samples from the surface of an asteroid. It also carried a small 600 gram (1.3 pound) mini-lander named MINERVA, which was designed to hop around the asteroid's surface.
Accomplishments: Hayabusa studied and photographed Itokawa for more than two months. Both Hayabusa and MINERVA experienced complications during landing attempts, Hayabusa landed on the asteroid and sucked a small amount of debris into a sample container. MINERVA probably drifted off into space instead of landing.
The Hayabusa sample capsule returned to Earth and was recovered. Many of the tiny particles recovered from the sample return capsule were identified as pieces of what appears to be a very primitive asteroid. In addition to returning the first samples from the surface of asteroid, Hayabusa also is the first spacecraft to successfully land and take off from the surface of an asteroid.