Special Reports

Touchdown of the Hayabusa Spacecraft at the Muses Sea on Itokawa

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Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1350-1353
DOI: 10.1126/science.1126164

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After global observations of asteroid 25143 Itokawa by the Hayabusa spacecraft, we selected the smooth terrain of the Muses Sea for two touchdowns carried out on 19 and 25 November 2005 UTC for the first asteroid sample collection with an impact sampling mechanism. Here, we report initial findings about geological features, surface condition, regolith grain size, compositional variation, and constraints on the physical properties of this site by using both scientific and housekeeping data during the descent sequence of the first touchdown. Close-up images revealed the first touchdown site as a regolith field densely filled with size-sorted, millimeter- to centimeter-sized grains.

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