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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Hayabusa2 arrived at Ryugu, so I can make comparisons of asteroid scales!

On 26 June 2018, Hayabusa2 arrived at its target asteroid, Ryugu. In a very brief status update, I present comparisons of Ryugu to other previously visited asteroids and comets.

Space grade electronics: How NASA’s Juno survives near Jupiter

Take a look at how electronics of spacecraft are built to survive the harshness of space environments.

Ten times the solar system reminded us sample collection is hard

Some of the biggest discoveries we make in planetary science rely on the seemingly simple act of picking up and analyzing pieces of other worlds. When things go awry, scientists and engineers can sometimes squeeze amazing science out of a tough situation.

Opposition surge comet

Today, the Rosetta OSIRIS team's Image of the Day is this highly unusual view of the comet with the Sun very nearly behind the spacecraft.

Collaboration Between OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2

The University of Arizona (UA) hosted representatives of the Hayabusa2 asteroid sample return mission to explore opportunities for collaboration with the OSIRIS-REx team.

My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

Reading Itokawa's life history from microscopic samples

When Hayabusa's sample return capsule was first opened and found to be very clean-looking inside, I doubted that there could be enough material for laboratory analysis. JAXA announced later that they scraped about 1500 dust grains from the inside with a teflon spatula, and these likely came from Itokawa.

LPSC 2011: Analysis of the grains returned by Hayabusa

I'd been despairing of finding a good source for a writeup of the presentations in the Hayabusa session at last week's Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, but am happy to report that I've finally found an excellent one.

Updates on Hayabusa and Akatsuki: second chamber opened, possible engine nozzle breakage

The Hayabusa update is brief: having opened the first Hayabusa sample return chamber (compartment A) last month, JAXA has now opened compartment B, and they found nothing inside.

A little more information on the Hayabusa samples from Itokawa

Since I posted an update Monday about JAXA confirming extraterrestrial samples in the Hayabusa sample return capsule, JAXA has posted an English-language version of their press release, which contains a bit more information.

JAXA announcement: Itokawa sample return successful!

It's official: in a press release today, JAXA announced that some 1,500 dust grains scraped from the interior of Hayabusa's clean-looking sample return capsule are not of terrestrial origin so must be from Itokawa.

Five close-approach images of Hartley 2 by Deep Impact, with commentary

Here's the five close-approach images of Hartley 2 captured today, November 4, 2010, by the Deep Impact spacecraft, collected into one file. Boy, do these images reward close examination!

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: The Flight of Hayabusa

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, The Flight of Hayabusa, a recap of that dramatic mission.

A brush painting for Hayabusa

Upon James Aldridge's return from Japan, he posted several albums worth of amazing photos, including several of their calligraphy instructor, well-known artist Aiko Tanaka, creating a gestural brush painting to commemorate Hayabusa's return.

A look inside the Hayabusa sample capsule

A very brief item posted on the Hayabusa website included two pictures of the interior of its sample return capsule, one of which shows a particle.

Amigurumi: How I channeled my adrenaline while watching Hayabusa's return

Covering the events of Hayabusa's return involved a lot of watching and waiting. Rather than go blind staring at my computer and cause carpal tunnel syndrome by excessively clicking the refresh button, I decided to...go blind and develop carpal tunnel syndrome by doing some crocheting.

Hayabusa update: First step for sample capsule return to Japan

Here are a few photos from a Flickr gallery from the Australian Science Media Centre documenting the Hayabusa sample capsule's first step in its journey from Australia to Sagamihara, Japan, where it will arrive on Friday.

Hayabusa update: Capsule retrieved, heat shield found

The major news on the Hayabusa mission this morning is that JAXA has retrieved the sample capsule!

Hayabusa's return: a review

Hayabusa's return: round up some of the amazing photos, movies, and artworks that were posted and shared and Tweeted and re-Tweeted over the previous dozen hours or so.

Welcome home, Hayabusa!

At 13:51 UTC, the Hayabusa spacecraft -- having traveled to an asteroid and back, surviving countless challenges-- broke up into a fiery meteor over the midnight, midwinter Australian sky.

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