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Space probe returns to Earth from 7-year trip to asteroid

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"For a rock...? Money well spent."

Much better spent than money spent on wars, eh?

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$200 million project

For a rock...? Money well spent.

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My guess is it will do absolutely nothing like all the other dust they have collected

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How is that Japan's Space probe came to be about world hunger? By the way, Japan gives billions to the monetary funds each year so in a way they are helping to fight hunger. I agree with a post that stated that someday this will turn into something that we can use. Maybe space dust is the fountain of youth we have all been looking for or maybe it is poisonous and can be used to to cause chronic sneezing. Who knows it might have been worthless, but then again understanding the properties of an asteroid could help us to destroy one if it were to be headed directly for this planet. We do not want to be like the dinosaurs. lol

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Kotaro-Have you not been reading about the US Space Program? It is in shambles. They have a lot of things on their plates. Despite that, I saw National Geographic comment on it, ABC News, The Associated Press, and a whole lot more news groups. Even Google did something. So are you anti-American? I been reading your post. While I read something related to another article, that one you use American, but English teachers in the Jet Program come from all over the world.

This is 2010 stop hating on the US already. Be thankful and be forever humble my brother!

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Remember, many of our tech we use today were invented because people wanted to know about space. Those tech may not have an apparent everyday use immediately but eventually found their way to us. From cordless tools to scratch-resistant lens to memory foam to ear thermometers to even shoe insoles and of course satellites (ground control needed to communicate with space probes) that allow us to watch the World Cup live.

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I wonder about why American major media ignore this news. Hayabusa's work is one of the greatest technological feat in human history.

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No I don't think this will help avoid the doom of the Earth. We already know it's a massive rock, how does a dust sample help us avoid it?

You don't think it will help? Fortunately, there are smarter people who know what the important questions are.

From Dr. Phil Plait's blog at Discover Magazine:

"As I mentioned in an earlier post, Itokawa is a 500-meter-long potato-shaped rubble pile, an asteroid that is not a solid rock like a boulder or mountain, but probably an assemblage of rubble held together by its own gravity. If one of these things were headed straight for us, we could lob nukes at it, even slam it with space probes at high speed to try to push it out of the way, and it would laugh at us. We need to understand these objects much better than we currently do if the time ever comes that we need to keep one from smacking into us. The sample of Itokawa contained inside that tiny glowing dot you saw in that video may just give us some of the answers we need to do that.

Science! It makes the world better, but it also just might save it, too."

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/06/13/video-of-hayabusas-return/

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There is enough money for food and medicine. And speaking about the environment. To understand the environment you need something to compare.

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Basic scientific research has always been a tough sell, precisely because it doesn't necessarily produce immediate or easily understood results. But the constant expansion of knowledge is vital. It's what keeps science going forward.

MaxPower, no one is saying that food, medicine, environment, race relations, etc., aren't important. They deserve all the funding they can get. Basic research gets a much smaller piece of the pie than any of the above, and I would argue that it also deserves all the funding it can get.

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maxpower: I dont see how understanding how the solar system works, helps us do anything. I keep asking but I keep getting blanket responses.

Where/what do we came from. I'd like to know. Our world doesn't end in water or outside the atmosphere. We are part of a much bigger world. The universe. Are we trapped on earth? Is there other form of life in the universe?

More pressing issues would be food, medicine, environment, race relations etc.

The pressure is there. And trust me, many billions are spent.

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I dont see how understanding how the solar system works, helps us do anything. I keep asking but I keep getting blanket responses.

More pressing issues would be food, medicine, environment, race relations etc.

Like the classic physics argument states, there is nothing you can do to prove the earth isn't a sub atomic part of a turtle, and what does that turtle stand on? Another turtle, its turtles all the way down baby! So why do people continue to ask "what is the turtle standing on?" ???

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From the sample we could learn how the solar system was made in the beginning and how the solar system evolved. We cannot learn this from meteroites found on earth, since they already changed a lot. This also helps us to understand chemistry better. It is impossible to understand earth if you look only at the system earth. You need something to compare.

Now where is the more important research?

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Yes technology is important, succeed or fail. But you don't need to blow that amount to see if this technology works.

Im just trying to put things into perspective. They could have tested this technology without the end game, thus saving millions of dollars for more IMPORTANT research.

There have been tremendous advances in technology since we explored space travel, but nothing from what any of the "successes" brought us back!

Surely we can learn to do this research more efficiently.

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Solving world hunger is a fool's pursuit. Provide more food and cultures will increase their population accordingly until there is a food shortage again. If you want to spend your life tilting at windmills, be my guest, but don't expect me to join you.

Throughout the ages, science has always advanced because someone decided to allocate resources to it that other people would have preferred go to their pet cause. Many of our science advances occurred by accident - while looking for one thing, they find something even greater. Once you stop seeking answers simply because there's no obvious immediate benefit to humanity, then the advancement of the human race stagnates.

I applaud JAXA for completing a successfulrecover of their payload vehicle and hope their subsequent research proves fruitfull.

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This is so more interesting than a moon landing... I tracked the Hayabusa's progress since even before it's launch, so it feels good it' finally back home. Let's hope for some nice results out of it...

For all that care, this guy made a nice graphical description of Hayabusa's Odyssey. It had some really bad moments as one can see. It's here: http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002535/

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A country like Japan has nothing to do with the world hunger! And it is not Japans or any other industrial country´s duty to fight the world hunger! For this you need better politicans in Africa.

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maxpower: yes. While I don't see the obvious advantage of taking dust from an asteroid back to earth to solve the world hunger, I see the technology involved in the development and success of this mission (even mistakes) as an advancement as whole for the human kind.

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Wait a minute. trespass, bringing potentialy hazardous goods into australia...

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Without asking, researching and discovering we would have remained in caves painting

I agree with you there. I even agree it was a great feat to achieve this project. But still seems like a lot of money for no obvious advantage.

Feeding people, obvious advantage.

Research a disease, obvious advantage.

Collect some dust off an astoroid, ???

Any advantage apart from building a really cool toy?

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This is an amazing feat. Hats off to JAXA. If there were no wars, a lot more of this kind of thing could be accomplished...

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I agree. Well done JAXA. We can probably learn as much or more just from the task of sending a probe to an asteroid, landing it, and bringing it back as from the possible dust it may have collected. Every bit we learn brings us a little bit closer to more effective space travel.

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Well done JAXA! Getting a probe to an asteroid and getting it back to Earth is a fantastic aceivement that Japan can be proud of!

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Djuice: you didn't read about the big bang or you just didn't digest it. It's not about burning things in a vaccum environment. Please go buy books or read over the Internet what it is about. If you are not interested about the theory or worst, don't have an opinion, please don't post.

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Djuice.

Guess you are talking Oxygen related combustion, which is still possible as long as one of the elements in the formula contains Oxygen. Like flare-torches, etc those will even ignite and burn under-water.

Lots of chemicals will combust without the presence of Oxygen.

BUt good news that the probe is back and hope they can gleam some good data from the samples.

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Hear hear I mean. Thanks nanda..

It is fun to read the quarantine comments. If it was going to happen, it would have happened. If there is a virus or some form of life on some asteroid or comet surviving in deep space conditions, then who says it could not survive reentry in a little crack in the aft of the space shuttle, or some tiny pit in a meteorite?

The truth is a lot scarier. There is more life in a Ueno station bathroom than on all planets of this solar system put together.

Anyway, getting the probe there, setting it down (escape velocity/gravity nil?) and getting it back are amazing feats. Basically, that is a docking maneuver that Apollo needed a human to do. Not only did Hayabusa do it without humans THERE, it did not have real time communications. The whole rendezvous was automated using data that they could not have obtained from earth. Can anyone tell me how the probe was controlled when we were on the other side of the sun? Was there a blackout period of a couple of weeks or something? Next step, not just unmanned probes.... autonomous probes.

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I don't think they will get near that much information from some dust samples. As for the big bang, as soon as someone can show me spontaneous combustion in a perfect vacuum, then I might swallow that big fairy tale.

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maxpower: Its like trying to discover what was before the big bang. Who cares?

I do.

Its not relevant to anything. Just enjoy your life and stop asking stupid questions.

I do enjoy my life and still want to know where/what I came from.

As Stephen Hawkins said, "it's irrelevant to think about time before the big bang"

Because time started with the Big Bang.

Without asking, researching and discovering we would have remained in caves painting.

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What information have they got from all the other explorations they have done so far? Nothing!

Its like trying to discover what was before the big bang. Who cares? Its not relevant to anything. Just enjoy your life and stop asking stupid questions.

As Stephen Hawkins said, "it's irrelevant to think about time before the big bang"

You really don't see how knowing as much as possible about a threat to all life on our planet might be a good idea?

No I don't think this will help avoid the doom of the Earth. We already know it's a massive rock, how does a dust sample help us avoid it?

Thanks Bobcatfish, I should have said meteorite

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the_harper: survived temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun

so there is a hope for landing a probe on the sun?

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maxpower,

Dont we have asteroids already hitting and landing on Earth for free?

If we had asteroids impacting Earth, you wouldn't be here to complain about anyone's space program.

Surly we could just study those rocks and put the cash somewhere needed!

You really don't see how knowing as much as possible about a threat to all life on our planet might be a good idea?

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What happens if it cracks open and spills its dust onto the Woomera plain?

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One hopes that this probe has brought back to Earth some of The Right Stuff.

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no - they would be meteorites. although the earth itself also comes from space. i suspect they will find it is the same dust we have here...not that nasty yellow stuff blowing in from China, mind.

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Wow, 200 million dollars for some "Dust"!!!

Does anyone believe this will help mankind in anyway?

Dont we have asteroids already hitting and landing on Earth for free? Surly we could just study those rocks and put the cash somewhere needed!

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Well done JAXA!

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Here we have something we can feel so proud about! And @badmigrane, hai.. i guess it is possible that it COULD have some bit of alien microbes or the equivalent of left-over alien fast-food wrappers.. but until the asparagus gets up and starts chasing me i am not going to lose sleep worrying about that ne? i hope that what ever is found inside the capsule that it will be announced and shown around the world, not all hush hushed up oooh super secret dust.. i want to see it!

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Fantastic mission that fundamentally changed human understanding of microgravity.

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Congratulations JAXA! The spacecraft lasted years longer than originally planned, and the capsule still worked as designed and survived temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun!

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So cool! So very cool! Congratulations!

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Hear hear indeed! Well done on getting this baby home! :clap:

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Could possibly contain microbes or energy signatures of alien beings that will ravage the world. In any case, we all have a finite number of heartbeats left. I don't intend to waste any more of mine.

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Here here. JAXA rocks! This is trickier in many ways than a moon shot. They had numerous problems and still completed the mission. Good planning. Good improvisation. They reached and grasped. Nice going.

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I have been following the experiential for nearly its entire mission. I have been very excited to see if it returns any particles. This probe has done many firsts. Good job Japan.

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