This is "HAYABUSA", a probe of Japan.
Many many accidents attacked "HAYABUSA" during voyage, but a lot of efforts and ideas of stuffs help him. And "HAYABUSA" completely responded to their requests. It's just a miracle.
Asteroids are thought to be celestial bodies that preserve information from the time of the Solar System's formation. If we collect a sample from an asteroid and bring it back to Earth to carry out precise research on it, we can gain some
precious clues to understand the origin and evolution of the Solar System.
Bringing back a sample from a celestial body in the Solar System is called "Sample Return." "HAYABUSA" is a probe to verify the practicality of acquired technology developed to archive future full-scale "sample return missions."
"HAYABUSA' was launched aboard the M-V Launch Vehicle on May 9,2003. It was accelerated by a swing-by of the Earth in May 2004 and reached its target Asteroid Itokawa on September 12,2005, after traveling about 2 billion kilometers. in September and October that year, "HAYABUSA" completed the most remote-sensing and measurement of the geometry of Itokawa and made two landings in November to collect a sample from Itakawa.
His voyage finishes tonight.
He drops a capsule on the earth, and after that, he burns out in the atmosphere.
This thought is quite Japanese way, many Japanese feel "HAYABUSA" got a soul.
So, we'll say to him, "Welcome home, you're a really big guy!".
We never forget you, HAYABUSA.
JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency)
HAYABUSA -The Final Approach-