Date: 13 Jun 2010
A Japanese science team carefully lifts the Hayabusa asteroid sample return capsule after its landing in the Australian wilderness.
Hayabusa studied and photographed asteroid Itokawa for more than two months. Hayabusa landed on the asteroid and sucked a small amount of debris into a sample container.
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 an asteroid, Hayabusa also is the first spacecraft to successfully land and take off from the surface of an asteroid.
Credit: Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency