back to article Japanese probe to land asteroid rock sample in Australia on December 6th

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced that its attempt to bring a chunk of asteroid back to Earth will touch down in December. JAXA has roped in the Australian Space Agency, because the Hayabusa2 mission’s asteroid sample capsule will land in the state of South Australia on December 6th. Hayabusa2 …

  1. Winkypop Silver badge

    Bound for South Australia...

    Because Western Australia banned incoming space machines after Skylab.

  2. Chris G Silver badge


    Alien Invasion, won't last long if they land in Oz, the local wildlife will see them off in no time, and that's only the blokes leaving the pub never mind all the stuff with too many legs or crawls, slithers and drops out of trees.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: AI

      ...or bleats.

  3. Steve K Silver badge

    Called while you were out...

    “Called while you were out, please call to rearrange delivery at the next orbit.”

    1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

      Re: Called while you were out...


      ... Left with your neighbour at New Zealand

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Called while you were out...

        But actually in Chile.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Called while you were out...

          If they're anything like the delivery drivers round here, it'll be left in Austria.

          I suppose when you're on your 400th delivery of the day, and you wage will be deducted by Bezos if you don't deliver another 500 in the next hour, it's not surprising that reading comprehension gets a bit slack.

  4. madphysics

    Lets hope Michael Crichton was wrong then...

    So I presume the return vessel will be taken straight to the Wildfire facility before all hell breaks loose?

  5. Cuddles Silver badge

    Important research

    I know we joke about how remote and dangerous Australia is, but sending a space probe to investigate it seems like taking the joke a bit too far.

  6. oiseau Silver badge

    I wonder

    There's a film made in 2017 by Daniel Espinosa called "Life" .

    Well made although bit far fetched in some aspects but downright scary in others.

    Since it was announced, this Hayabusa2 mission has kept me wondering about just how much thought, peer review and control is actually going into the handling of whatever will be brought back to Earth from the surface of a rock that has been hurtling through space for eons.

    For what we know (not much nothing really), it could well end up being more than just asteriod sand.


    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I wonder

      "how much thought, peer review and control is actually going into the handling of whatever will be brought back to Earth"

      Quite a lot. Mainly because the last thing they want is for the sample to get contaminated before they get a chance to examine it. Anything on the outside is going to get quite hot on the way down.

      1. oiseau Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        "Quite a lot."

        And you know that to be an actual fact?

        Is it up to just the people involved with the Hayabusa2 probe or are there international bodies collaborating/overseeing the process/protocols? ie: peer review

        I have read nothing about that and I do find it rather worrying.

        "... last thing they want is for the sample to get contaminated ..."

        I think you've missed the point I wanted to make.

        My fault probably because I was not clear enough.

        "Anything on the outside is going to get quite hot ..."

        I'm not referring to the sample getting contaminated by us.

        I'm referring to the sample contaminating us.

        ie: We don't know exactly what constitutes (besides asteriod dust) the sample that they are bringing back to earth and what it may (or may not) bring along with it.


        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          Well, it works both ways round. If the samples are kept sterile, then that’s because there’s a containment that prevents contamination moving across it’s barrier in either direction.

          There are some sort of international agreements about the cleanliness of spacecraft visiting other objects in the solar system. Any craft visiting Mars or objects further out is supposed to be very sterile indeed to try and ensure that we don’t ruin future “tests for life” experiments.

          When Musk did that show off launch of a Falcon Heavy with a Tesla on it, they broke this agreement. It wasn’t sterile, because it was supposed to be launched into an orbit that could never reach Mars. However it turned out that the orbit achieved goes beyond Mars, significantly so, to the point where I find it hard to believe it wasn’t deliberate. One day that thing may come down on Mars and, whilst it’ll get comprehensively trashed by the atmospheric entry at Mars, we know that microbes can survive such experiences lodged inside fragments that survive. We’re unlikely to spot that happening, and if it does it will compromise tests for life on Mars. Musk’s ego 1:0 science. They didn’t give a damn about astronomy either when they started launching StarLink, and only now after quite a lot of fuss are they taking some measures. And AFAIK the StarLink satellites have no reliable means of being deorbitted (there’s already 2 that have been abandoned in their orbits) so they’re creating the potential for vast quantities of space junk in LEO.

          1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

            Re: I wonder

            Starlink are so low they de-orbit after a few years due to atmospheric drag. There's no need for a plan to get them down, in fact there is no way to keep them up.

  7. Michael Hoffmann

    Let's hope their targeting is spot on...

    ... if they're off it'll land here in Victoria and it'll be locked down for what now seems like the next 20 years.

  8. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Green meteor? Has anybody seen Ryan Reynolds recently?

  9. HildyJ Silver badge

    Joking aside (if that's possible on ElReg)

    Hayabusa2 brings to mind the Grateful Dead's "what a long strange trip it's been."

    The trip out seemed uneventful and the rovers worked as expected but then it took them a year to find an appropriate sample site on an asteroid only 1km in diameter.

    One hopes the return will go back to being uneventful. Kudos to the boffins who designed and managed the mission and a pint in anticipation of it's successful completion.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Joking aside (if that's possible on ElReg)

      I’ll drink to that!

      It’s worth reading up on Hyabusa 1 if you’re not already familiar with it. The whole thing reads like the transcript from a torture chamber for spacecraft mission controllers. So much stuff broke but somehow they managed to work around the problems. And they got lucky; even the sampling went wrong, the impact was far more feeble than planned. But they still got some material and, astonishingly, the partial failure meant that what they got was predominantly surface material, which was far more useful scientifically speaking.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Landing in South Australia you say? Good luck decontaminating the samples after Skippy and his mates have assumed it's Click and Collect time. And they don't even need a shopping bag!

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020