Japanese Spacecraft to Simulate Asteroid Collision With Earth

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Asteroid Probe Set to “Collide” With Earth
National Geographic

A 1,124-pound (510-kilogram) space probe will “collide” with our home planet in June 2010 to simulate an approaching asteroid, Japanese scientists have announced.

The Hayabusa spacecraft is currently on its way back to Earth after a successful mission that landed on and hopefully collected samples from the asteroid Itokawa.

Potential samples will be aboard a heat-resistant capsule that will separate from Hayabusa shortly before re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere so they can be recovered.

But experts say the main body of the craft will most likely disintegrate during the trip through Earth’s atmosphere.

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