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Published on Jun 14, 2010
A team of astronomers and scientists from NASA, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency and other organizations had a front row seat as the Hayabusa spacecraft made a fiery return to Earth's atmosphere on June 12, 2010. Special cameras and other imaging instruments aboard NASA's DC-8 airborne laboratory captured the Japanese spacecraft's high-speed re-entry over an unpopulated area of central Australia. Hayabusa completed a seven-year journey to return a sample of the asteroid Itokawa. Scientists aren't sure a sample was obtained; if they do find one, it'll weigh no more than a gram.