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NASA Australia Space Science

NASA Astronomers To Observe Hayabusa's Fiery Homecoming 142

coondoggie writes "NASA said that a group of its astronomers will have a front row seat in Australia to watch the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa's high-speed, fiery return to Earth. It is bringing with it a hunk of the asteroid Itokawa. The spacecraft is expected to land in an unpopulated area of Australia at approximately midnight locally, or 7 am PDT, on Sunday, June 13. Some 30 NASA astronomers will be flying onboard a specially equipped DC-8 with instruments that can monitor Hayabusa's reentry."
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NASA Astronomers To Observe Hayabusa's Fiery Homecoming

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  • "High Speed Dirt" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:38PM (#32518542) Homepage

    "See the earth below,
    Soon to make a crater!
    Blue sky, black death,
    I’m off to meet my maker!"

  • Re:Humph. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:48PM (#32519002) Homepage Journal

    The Japanese will probably just get fined for littering.

    We haven't had much luck fining them for killing whales so I don't like our chances with this one.

  • Re:"unpopulated" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zouden ( 232738 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @10:33PM (#32519318)

    Indeed. It's a testing ground for various military purposes, and in the 1950s the British government tested nuclear weapons there.

    However there is a (small) population there. The mailman has to use a helicopter because the area is the size of England.

  • Re:Hayab USA! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @10:37PM (#32519348)

    Go on, mod me down, but I'm a taxpayer and this isn't what government should be spending my money on.

    How about, "Fuck you. Get some priorities [costofwar.com], moran."

  • Re:Hayab USA! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @10:38PM (#32519358)

    It's not like they're going to be sitting on beach towels here, they're going to be observing the inbound flight from an airborne lab on a DC-8 to record the condition of the returning probe as it penetrates the atmosphere. As far as I remember the reaction control system is dead so this thing will be coming in on a trajectory much like an asteroid. Except it's man made and carrying a cargo we're interested in. It was designed for controlled re-entry but since that's not possible this is a great opportunity to see what happens to spacecraft like this when bad things happen in the air.

    What wouldn't be gained from observing and recording a piece of hardware like this as it falls through the atmosphere?

    As a taxpayer, you should be more upset about your government bailing out auto-makers and becoming mired in costly foreign conflicts.

  • Re:Hayab USA! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BJ_Covert_Action ( 1499847 ) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:01PM (#32528204) Homepage Journal

    (albeit a very rude one!)

    Meh, bad morning with little coffee. It probably wasn't an entirely appropriate response, but it's out there.

    Regarding my claim that JAXA is probably footing the bill, no, I have no citations to back that up. I know this is a JAXA mission because I have followed Hayabusa for years now, eagerly, so I have done research. I made the claim regarding NASA being hired as consultants based on past experiences working with NASA through other agencies (namely the university I attended and one of my previous employers). Sometimes NASA feels charitable enough to donate their time and efforts to help other organizations. Often, NASA does not feel this way and, if you want their consultation on a matter, you will get charged for it. Even when you foot the bill for such consultation, it is pretty common for NASA to ask for whatever data/feedback you can provide them with as a means of reducing the hefty price of asking for NASA's help. I would wager that some kind of contract that describes NASA's relationship with JAXA on this project exists somewhere, but I doubt I will ever have access to it.

    That said, my claims were made from personal experience in the work I have done with NASA only.

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead