Not only those who have been anticipated the return of space probe Hayabusa (meaning "falcon" for Japanese) but also those who hadn't known it at all till the other day would have been excited and overjoyed by the spectacular return of Hayabusa on June 13th, 2010, three years behind schedule. I was moved to see Hayabusa burning apart, streaking in the night sky like fireballs, on it's re-entering to the Earth after 7 years adventure to and from an asteroid Itokawa.
(See the moment of re-entry to the Earch.)
So, I went to Osaka Science Museum (located at Higobash, Osaka) to see a dome-movie made of computer graphics, HAYABUSA: Back to the Earth, at the planetarium. (Trailer) Actually going and seeing it had been a matter of time because my husband is very intereted in Hayabusa project. Some interested people would buy DVDs or Blue-ray Discs, but I wanted to see it at the planetarium. You would know why, if you have been to and know what it's like to have a view of 360 degrees sitting on a reclining seat at a planetarium. The movie is a brief record of Hayabusa's mission from May, 2003 to April, 2009.
"A lot of space probes were launched to the universe, but Hayabusa is the only one which is coming back to the Earth completing its mission." ....... "Only Japanese team has chosen 'ion engine' to move the space explorer." ........ While listening to the narration (the narrator called Hayabusa as "he" or "you") as I saw the film, something warm filled my heart and tears came into my eyes. Why? Because I saw heroic character in Hayabusa. Hayabusa is a robot which can think on its own (within the extent of programming), while it is operated by remote control from the Earth when possible. Since the launching, Hayabusa suffered lots of machine troubles and malfunctions one after another. Nevertheless, Hayabusa as well as the human team worked hard to overcome the troubles one by one with never-give-up spirits.
The planetarium was filled to the capacity (300 seats) today. I heard it had been rather sparse till the other day. Planetarium Hall schedule
These are videos (You Tube) explaining scientific details about HAYABUSA mission.
The Hayabusa Mission Asteroid Adventuer
The Great Challenges of HAYABUSA by JAXA