The first attempt to maneuver the unmanned space probe Hayabusa close enough to scoop up a sample of material from the surface of asteroid 25143 Itokawa is aborted by ground controllers at the Japanese space agency, JAXA. The spacecraft’s navigational system finds it difficult to maintain a precise lock on the elongated asteroid, so its automatic safety systems abort the approach to preserve Hayabusa intact. Another attempt to bring Hayabusa close enough to gather material from Itokawa’s surface will be made a week later.
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